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Apple is patent troll

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By Kim Yoo-chul

Samsung Electronics is expected to emphasize that Apple is a "patent troll" in a new round of their blockbuster patent battle, industry sources said Friday.

The first hearing is scheduled in San Jose, Calif., Monday, and will deal with commercial patents for smartphones.

Previously, the court dealt with the validity of standard-essential patents.

The iPhone5 and Galaxy S3, the two firms' more recent products, will be covered under the supervision of Federal Judge Lucy Koh in what will be a jury decision.

Apple may demand Samsung to pay $40 per mobile phone sold in the U.S., according to a legal paper it has submitted to the court.

This time, Samsung appears to be better-positioned because the court is dealing with commercial patents, the results of long-time research and development (R&D).

"Samsung has been consistent in creating a new ecosystem for the smartphone market by signing licensing deals with concerned firms," said an official at the Korea Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).

"However, Apple is becoming a patent troll by expanding its legal battle," he said. "This is where Samsung will appeal to the jury."

It has signed licensing agreements with IBM, Microsoft, SK hynix, Toshiba, SanDisk, InterDigital, Intellectual Ventures and Google, and extended similar deals with Ericsson and Rambus.

Apple is investing to defend its own "iOS" ecosystem with the firm being involved in many patent disputes, said officials.

Patent Freedom, a research firm, said Apple was involved in a total of 191 legal disputes between 2009 and 2013, compared to Samsung's 152 and Hewlett-Packard's 150.

"This means that Apple is overly eager to defend its intellectual properties. But it is passive in pursuing co-prosperity with other players," said a patent lawyer in Seoul.

"The late Apple founder Steve Jobs earlier declared a thermonuclear war against its rivals and that means, for me, that Apple limits consumers' choice."

As the patent battle has dragged on, Samsung's budget for patent sharing reached 1.85 trillion won last year, up more than 20 percent from the previous year.

"Samsung believes it can't survive on its own in today's challenging markets. Its licensing deals will make it easier for consumers to purchase products with enhanced functions at better prices," the lawyer said.

Apple asked the San Jose court to question Google's engineers. Industry officials and patent experts say the company is now aiming at users of Google's Android system.

Kim Yoo-chul

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