Samsung fails to get access to Apple's carrier contracts

Samsung today in the Federal Court backed away from its demand for access to the full versions of Apple’s carrier agreements after the latter’s legal counsel successfully claimed the information sought was not in the documents.

Samsung had sought copies of contracts for Telstra, Vodafone and Optus, in an effort to obtain evidence that Apple benefited from greater subsidies for the iPhone than handsets from rival manufacturers. Both vendors were allowed by presiding judge, Justice Annabelle Bennett, to privately negotiate a redacted version of the documents to provide information about whether the sales of Apple’s iPhone 4S had impacted on those of the Samsung Galaxy.

The hearing was part of the wider case whereby Samsung is attempting to gain an interlocutory injunction to prevent Apple selling its iPhone 4S in Australia.

Lawyers for Samsung told a Federal Court today that the South Korean manufacturer was not satisfied with the information provided by Apple and claimed it had received evidence suggesting the relevant information was indeed in the full version of the three documents.

“The only way we could explore this issue is if we saw the documents,” said Julian Cork on behalf of Samsung.

According to Cork, in order to understand the contract Samsung needed to read the entire document.

However, Apple's lawyers firmly rebuffed the claims, citing this was not a case “where our friends should have a peek at a document that isn’t relevant”.

“[The issue] should be done and dusted,” said Apple barrister, Stephen Burley.

Justice Bennett told Cork that there were “only so many bites of the cherry” Samsung could have in a case such as this.

Bennett told Samsung that in order to pursue a copy of the unredacted document it would need to “start again” as well as talk to the three telcos involved in the agreements. She also questioned whether the matter was worth extending the hearing by an extra three days.

Upon instruction from Samsung, Cork dismissed the request for the agreements but has the option to reproduce the request for specific parts of the agreements.

Another issue in the case was the expert examination of Apple’s firmware and the chip supplied by Qualcomm in the iPhone 4S by Samsung in order to prove it impedes on its patents.

The court heard Samsung's expert has now received and examined the firmware and will provide his findings by 9.30am on Sunday morning.

Apple recently won an interim Federal Court injunction to prevent the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet device in Australia until the legal between the two companies regarding patents has been resolved.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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