back to article Samsung may try to block next iPhone in Europe too

Samsung could try to get the iPhone 5 delayed or banned in Europe, a source has told South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper today. The Korean giant is considering a lawsuit against the next version of the Apple smartphone due in October, in the expectation that iPhone 5 will make use of some basic telecoms technology that …


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  1. min

    i suppose...

    ...that since Apple started this, it's only right that Samsung take the baton and run the rest of the course with it.

    a decision that apple may live to regret. i hope.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Apple started it? I think Samsung started it by making the Galaxy S look like an iPhone 3G knock off.

      1. Ed 11

        Wasn't it Nokia that started it with a patent claim against Apple a few years ago?

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Yes apple did start it, by copying Stanlely Kubrick's design for a tablet computer as portrayed in the 1968 film "2001"

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I have the Galaxy S, its pretty distinctive to the 3Gs...

        different size, different buttons, different interface...

        Same for S II vs iphone 4 I can tell them apart instantly. so not a clone..

      4. sisk

        Re: Giles Jones

        Actually, Apple started it by faking pics that make it look like the Galaxy is a knock off. Seriously, walk into a store and put the two side by side.

      5. Mark Quesnell
        Thumb Down

        copying? How crazy can you get. All smart phones basically look the same - same as tablets. Exactly how many designs are there to make a "tablet" - and how different would they be? This is a problem with the EU for letting a company patent a "look" - no matter how generic. Not to mention that Apple stole the ipad design from previous designs both in movies and by other companies.

  2. Is it me?

    Reputational Damage

    At which point do loyal Apple, or Samsung customers think well sod this for a game of soldiers, I'm not buying any other products from them, they are blocking me buying a product I want, or even a plague upon both your houses.

    PS. Please sign me up as a patent lawyer, seems to be the most lucrative field to be in now.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Idiocy ...

    So in a world were consumer confidence and purchasing power is crashing the two giants of the smart phone industry are locked in a death-embrace rather than actually providing the products that might make some money and keep consumers happy. The human race deserves it's slow decline into obscurity!

    1. BoldMan

      This isn't about the human race this is about lawyers playing games - they ceased being human as soon as they gained their law degrees/other legal qualifications...

      1. Al_21

        Lawyers didn't cause it, the companies and anticompetitive patent system caused it.

        Lawyers are the only ones gaining from it though!

        1. Tomato42

          They are willfully misusing the system, they bear the primary responsibility, the secondary responsibility is in the hands of managers that let them run amok.

          1. ratfox

            The first thing we do

            H2642 – Let's kill all the lawyers

        2. Eddy Ito


          Of course the lawyers caused it. There are a bunch of congressive lawyers in D.C. who wrote the rules to this stupid patent system.

          1. Goat Jam

            Congressive Lawyers in D.C?

            You do realise that this particular fiasco is playing out in Europe, Australia and Sth Korea, yes?

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Oh dear me!

      "Miss, Apple copied my work!"

      "Apple, stop copying and do it yourself."

      "Miss, Samsung won't stop looking at my work!"

      "Right both of you, outside the head's office now!"

  4. BenR

    Is it just me?

    But I'm bored of this now.

    Why don't they both just pack it in and behave like a set of grown-ups rather than spoiled petulant children?

    Accept that noone in their right mind is going to confuse the two, put them both on the market, and let the best combination of hardware and software win.

    1. Jedit Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Apple aren't going to do that

      Because they know that they can't win. This isn't a swipe at the quality of iProducts; it's inevitable that the major companies who are in competition both with each other and with Apple are going to put more effort into innovating than Apple can, if only because five heads are better than one.

      Apple have thus far been able to maintain their strong grasp on the smartphone market because of their monolithic approach - don't have a range of products that do different things, have one that does everything - but now HTC, Samsung et al have caught up, Apple can no longer call the tune. The only way they can maintain their market share now is to prevent other companies entering the market.

      As for the Samsung lawsuit, I believe it's a bluff. They don't expect the judgement to be passed, but when it isn't, they can use that as another lever to have the rulings against the Galaxy range struck down.

      1. Hans 1

        I doubt you have seen a Galaxy phone as they look "exactly" like iPhones. Samsung deserve everything they get for copying the design with a lot of attention to detail ... I cannot speak for the Galaxy tab, never seen one ....

        Samsung, come up with your own design or feel the full force of the law.

        Samsung will be waving basic phone patents that most likely everybody is using without paying anyway.

        1. Vic

          > I doubt you have seen a Galaxy phone

          I have.

          > as they look "exactly" like iPhones.

          No they don't.

          Superficially - they are both roughly rectangular, and about the size one would expect for a smartphone.

          The similarity? They both have rounded corners. BFD. So does my dining-room table. Sharp corners are unpleasant when they come into contact with humans. The solution to that problem - rounding off the corners - is as old as the hills.

          Otherwise, the icons are different, the layout of the screen is different, the way the phone works is different. They do, however, both have an icon of a phone handset that is used for phone functions. And Apple didn't invent that.


        2. KirstarK

          Utter tosh.

          They are different.

          1. Manu T

            No they're not

            A Galaxy S looks like the twin brother of an iPhone 3G(s). Albeit a large and thin brother.

            Compared to an iPhone 4 there's a very noticable difference.

            Many websites in their review also suggested the same e.g.:

            "The glossy black plastic and metal-effect bezel both echo Apple’s second/third-gen smartphone; the irony, of course, is that the Cupertino company has now moved on with the almost retro lines of the iPhone 4, and the Galaxy S feels a little indistinct in comparison." (source:

            And there are a lot more who suggest the same (another example from s Dutch website: "Opvallend is dat iedereen die de telefoon voor het eerst in zijn handen krijgt vrijwel meteen zegt: “Goh, het lijkt wel erg op een iPhone”. --> translated as: "Everybody who gets the phone in their hands say: "Gee, this looks a lot like an iPhone") (source:

            And just look at:

            The 2 top photo's show the galaxy next to an iPhone 3GS. Even the UI resembles iOS screen filled with icons and a grey bottombar with its 4 icons.

            You gotta be blind NOT to see the iPhone resemblance. Remove the 2 imprints next to the bottom button and the samsung logo on top and you'd swear it was a bigger iPhone 3.

            1. Jedit Silver badge

              So what you're saying is..

              ... that if you remove all the incredibly obvious differences between the Galaxy S2 and the iPhone, the S2 would look JUST LIKE AN iPHONE!!!!??? My God! How did I not see it before?

              1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

                Butt Shirley....

                ....they all look like digital picture frames to me......

                I wonder is Samsung going to photoshop the evidence they present to the court as well????

        3. A. Nervosa

          I have to agree

          Just recently I've been regularly walking past a poster advertising the Samsung Galaxy S II. From anything over a couple of feet away... sorry, it's looks absolutely identical to an iPhone which is exactly what I think it is every time I glance at it. Practically the only differentiating feature you can make out from a distance is the word 'Samsung' written underneath the ear-piece.

          I don't ever recall getting confused between Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, Motorola and Blackberry phones in the past. They all had their own distinctive and recognisable designs.

          1. tmTM

            You need an eye test

            If you think the S II looks like an iphone, place it next to an iphone 3S or a 4, walk ten feet away.

            You could pick out the S II in the dark it's that clear.

            Stop talking such rubbish.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              In the dark?

              "Stop talking such rubbish" and start explaining why the courts in Australia and Germany disagree with you.

              1. Jedit Silver badge

                Free Clue

                Apple have more cash in the bank than the US government.

              2. tmTM

                yes in the dark

                As soon as you see the lock screen you'll be able to tell the Android S II apart from the iphone ;-)

                Have you seen the doctored pictures of tablets submitted in court documents to backup apples case?

        4. Jedit Silver badge

          "I doubt you have seen a Galaxy phone"

          *takes his out of his pocket*

          *looks at it*

          Nope, sorry, I can tell that it's not an iPhone. The big logo at the top, the rectangular home button, the illuminated menu and back buttons and the fact that I'm not a twat are the significant clues.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me?

      Naah, ban BOTH the iPhone and Galaxy in Europe and make room for Nokia's N9 :-)

  5. technohead95

    Apple deserves everything that is coming to them

    I'm so glad that Samsung is using the full force against Apple. Apple are the big bullies of this tech world and it's only Samsung that seems to be standing up against them. If it wasn't for Samsung, Apple would be doing the same to other manufacturers. However, the heated court battles with Samsung only seem to allow Apple to lightly attack the other companies. I really hope Apple crawls back under the rock from where it came from. This will finally allow everyone to focus on producing good tech for the consumers rather than spending wasted effort in courts over patents.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge


      Apple have been sued many times over the years due to the popularity of the iPod. There has always patent trolls claiming iPods were infringing their rather vague patents.

      If anything this is just Apple fighting back after years of being targeted.

      1. Arctic fox

        @Giles Jones Let me see now. You and I are standing in a pub and a guy......

        .....near us punches me in the face. Instead of hitting him I decide to get my dibs in my smacking you one. Would you regard this as rational and fair behaviour? No? I am not surprised. However that *is* the logic of *your* argument. I do know how many times Apple have been sued with regard to the iPod but I do know that that has nothing to do with Samsung and provides not the slightest rational justification for Apple starting a war with them.

      2. L.B

        Your ether a troll/Apple fan or just don't have a clue.

        Apple have been bullying everyone they could for decades by bringing ridiculous law suits against other companies.

        Back in the 80's they did this against Microsoft, as they claim they invented WIMP interfaces. It took years to resolve and in the end it was up to Xerox to threaten Apple with the same suit. The difference being that Xerox HAD invented/design computers using Windows, Icons and Mice years before at their Palo Alto research centre and could easily prove it.

        Apple were renowned then for spending vastly more on lawyers that R&D, the same is probably true today. Particularly when their intellectual IP consists of daft claims like making things with metal cases with rounded corners!

        1. a_been


          Stop making up history. Apple never claimed to have invented the WIMP which was demoed in the 60's and not by Xerox. Apple licenced Xeroxs design. When the Lisa and Mac proved more popular than the Xerox star, Xerox threatened to sue Apple but didn't.

          Apple sued Microsoft over copying it's UI. The case went to court and Microsoft claimed they could copy Apples UI due to a their contract with Apple. The court agreed with Microsoft.

          1. Ramazan


            Please take time to read and comprehend the

            Xerox did sue Apple.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @ Ramazan

              Xerox did file suit against Apple – the reason being was that Xerox reasoned that if Apple did win its case against Microsoft, then it could the main winner, not that it felt cheated by Apple. However, its suit (or rather, five out of six counts of it) was thrown out of court because Xerox had licensed its GUI research to Apple.

              This is covered to that Wikipedia article but you linked to, but it’s worth reading up a bit more - it was a most speculative attempt to leverage more money from the original deal by a new Xerox CEO, if Apple won its copyright lawsuits. Worth a punt by the company, but a very cynical move... but business is business.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Looks twice in disbelief!!!

        You mention the iPod being targeted by patent holders and yet completely overlook the fact that Apple stole the interface directly from Creative. Cue legal argument that ends with Apple paying Creative $100 million compensation and having to license it in an ongoing agreement. Your 'years of being targeted' argument falls down right there. They deserved to be targeted as they were profiting from someone else's work which is pretty much the Apple way of doing things. Steal it first then pay the fine later as the profits outweigh the amount they will be fined. That or start a legal argument of their own claiming they 'invented' it despite there being plenty of prior art which is the case currently against Samsung.

  6. Karl 14


  7. Kevin Johnston

    Just a thought

    How about letting the US play silly games with patents for using your left forefinger to click a button or suchlike but put a time limit on the validity of maybe three or four years. It gives the 'creator' some time to get to market and get a return on their efforts but doesn't kill all future development. Has the advantage that all these Trolls would suddenly be HUGELY out of pocket.

    It would stop all these silly children in their tracks and allow us to get on with real headlines, how is the LOHAN REHAB going anyway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps a better way would be for the rest on the world to void all US patents, due the that fact the US Patent office just passes everything, dispite there being internationally accepted rules like:


      The USPO has passed many patents for thing like: the wheel (done as joke, but it was granted) to imaginary antigravity devices.

      But then again we have daft judges in Germany (and elsewhere) who haven't got a clue about anything technical passing stupid judgements on things they don't understand.

  8. HP Cynic

    Reap what you sow etc.

    As someone who is getting my first smartphone in October (probably Apple) I don't blame Samsung at all for retaliating to Apple's patent trolling.

    Maybe I'll be forced to wait for the dust to settle in which case I'll carry on using my £10.50 a month "dumb" but effective device.

    1. Arctic fox

      @HP Cynic: Can I perhaps be permitted in a fraternal spirit and in the light of what........ have just posted to suggest that you take a look at the Samsung Galaxy SII before you decide? -:)

  9. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Message to Jobs

    F*cking grow up.

    The iPhone is either successful enough to shrug of competition or it's not and you should do better. Playing the weasel patent game is IMHO exceptionally weak (and has IMHO tarnishes the Apple image), and you ought to kick your lawyer's nuts for advising you on a strategy of mutual destruction (remember - he makes his money either way).

    What? Oh, you left? Well, then give the dimwit in charge a call instead.

    1. Manu T

      RE: Message to...

      Why would Jobs even care.

      The same is true for Microsoft.

      All the ppl whom started these companies have already left the building, filthy rich, with a big mansion somewhere quiet and a with fully loaded bank-account. Hell, these guys do "charity" now as a hobby. Why would they even care about all the other sharks left in the pool?

      It's all upto YOU. YOU don't like it... then DON'T buy their products! I started boycotting Samsung products 3 years ago due to personal reasons. And I'll keep boycotting them for as long as I can. If others followed my lead the samsung wouldn't have a foothold in Europe at all. The same with Apple. If you don't like Apple's attidute, then steer potential customers away from their products. Because let's be honest, most El Reg-readers are considered tech-savvy by friends and family. And are called upon for advice when siblings want to buy new techtoys. That's the moment when YOU are in control and might influence their spending decision. Even if it's just one person in your family or just one friend who follows your "advice".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    " in the expectation that iPhone 5 will make use of some basic telecoms technology"

    Can I get something banned before I've even looked at it ?

    By all means, when it comes out, take it apart and then, with proof, get further shipments banned and sue for damages - but surely you need some form of proof. If an EU court uphold a ban based on speculation then we seriously need to amend the law.

    1. MacroRodent

      Not Farce

      "Can I get something banned before I've even looked at it ?"

      No, but that is not what the article says. So far it was just public saber-rattling by a Samsung executive. They will certainly cite something more substantial if the actually sue Apple in Europe.

      Anyway, given how the broken patent system works, it will not be difficult for Samsung or any other traditional major cellphone maker to find something in Apples products to sue over, if they really want to. The main reason for the current patent armageddon is that the newcomer Apple barged into the gentleman's club that the telecom field used to be, and didn't play by the established mutual-back-scratching rules.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Farce

      you might wish to re-read the article.

      Samsung didn't sue Apple because of the iPhone 5, well not yet. They are making an assumption that the iPhone 5 will make use of some of their patents. Based on this assumption, they are getting ready to sue once the iPhone 5 is out and they have the conformation that the patents have been violated.

      they will try to ban the iPhone 5 _AFTER_ it comes out, not before that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No it's just BS

        If Samsung could sue over the iPhone 5 then they can sue over the iPhone 4. The only new comm's tech the iPhone 5 could have is LTE and they just bought a whole load of patents on that from Nortel.

  11. b166er

    BenR, yes it's just you, I'm loving this.

    HP Cynic, don't do it! Get a Galaxy S2.

    Or a Monte Carlo and GiffGaff if budgetry concerns are foremost.

  12. simon255

    Apple must lose

    I SO hope Samsung win.

    Someone needs to stop Apple, otherwise everyone will be paying patent royalties to Apple for years and years to come - and us, the consumer will suffer through inflated hardware costs.

    I just wish people would stop buying Apple products until they back down.

    1. hexx

      and then what? apple loses and who will samsung copy then?

  13. mittfh

    Tit for tat

    "You sue me, I sue you."

    It would be fun if Samsung recruited lawyers of similar calibre to Apple - and maybe applied for an injunction in the US as well. Imagine if neither device was able to be released while tied up in litigation... :D

  14. Tomato42

    The Global (Pseudo) Intellectual War

    The only winning move is not to play.

  15. Captain Scarlet

    Samsung copying Apple

    Don't do it, it could be used against them as showing Samsung will do exactly the same as Apple!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Apple:- what goes around comes around.

    Apple you started this fight. With your BS about tablet shape/look.

    If Samsung ends wining this case this will affect all Apple phones. Apple could be force to relase IMEI numbers so all iPhones could be blocked from working in Europe. So iPhone, iPhone 3, iPhone 3GS will not be able to connect to any mobile network in Europe.

    1. Ed 11

      Are you for real? I'm not a lawyer, but something smells awfully similar to BS.

    2. Captain Underpants

      Yeah, but no. That's not at all how it works.

      Most of the time successful patent infringement suits lead to a verdict where the infringer is required to cease infringing (ie stop producing/selling the product in question) and pay damages for existing infringements.

      Expecting them to track down and retrieve past products sold *before* the infringement was ratified through the legal process is excessive, and sets bad precedents when taken in the context of the USA's b0rked patent system.

      Don't let the facts ruin the fantasy though ;)

  17. Brezhnev's Shadow

    Don't tease sleeping bears


  18. myhandle
    Thumb Down

    It's the politicians fault

    For giving them the laws to do this. If they really want to help the economy you drop the entire patent thing on the ground for anything that involves a cpu be that software or hardware. On the balance of things any possible value from patents is outweighed a million-fold in today's age by the disadvantages.

  19. Shades

    I may be wrong...

    ...but that sounds like the biggest load of b*ll*cks I've ever heard!

    1. Shades


      The above was supposed to be in response to the Anon Coward post titled "WGACA" (a few posts up), and not a comment upon the article.

  20. Kevin Johnston

    Another thought

    Could I patent the idea of suing a competitor who launches a product which has the same purpose as something which I already make or plan to produce?

    Oh yeah, too much prior art although apparently if I patent it in the US...........

  21. stim

    Go Samsung!!!

    I hope they kick Apple's butt!

    Not that i really care either way as i'm in the WP7 camp, but it's great viewing!

    Where's the popcorn icon, oh a beer will do!!

  22. Adam T

    Blame the Greeks for all this tosh, circa 500BC (according to wikipedia).

    "encouragement was held out to all who should discover any new refinement in luxury, the profits arising from which were secured to the inventor by patent for the space of a year."

    It has to be said, they started it off with a far more sensible system than we have now.

    Interesting to see that the first 20 year patent in the UK was for coloured glass. Where would we be today without green bottles?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyway...isn't it iPhone 4S?

    See above.

  24. Stretch


  25. Anonymous Coward

    Apple's fault, fair and square

    When they dothe equivalent of a car company accusing a competitor of copying because they built a car with wheels at each corner, they need someone to step up and say 'enough'.

  26. Cyberspice

    Samsung has done some innovation?

    Wow that is a shock! I actually don't care for all the copyright/design/patent fighting. Both companies are behaving badly there. However I am wondering what Samsung has actually done that's innovative. The didn't write the OS. They don't write the apps. They didn't design the processor. They didn't come up with the UI metaphors. What do they do other than regurgitate other peoples' work and bang out cheap phones.

    1. Ramazan


      Actually, Samsung invented AMOLED

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear The Register

    Can we please add the "I judge you to be a troll" vote button to the up/down votes.

    Thank you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That won't end well

      But then we'll need a "I judge you to be an iTard/freetard/neckbeard/M$tard" etc and soon all we'll see are buttons stretching down our screens into infinity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes, but then I won't feel compelled to do the obligatory Ad Hominem response that some of these comments enrage me to do.

        And I can avoid typing paragraphs of text to prove that the commentator is indeed a troll.

  28. Jonas Taylor

    Patents restrict innovation, not encourage it

    I can appreciate the importance of trademarks, which prevent other organisations or individuals from playing off the goodwill earned by a brand. And I can appreciate a limited form of copyright, in order to protect the investment made in a work. I can even appreciate patents in a limited form, especially to protect smaller businesses from being ripped off by those with more money. But the problem is the scale and scope that they currently enjoy.

    For instance, the newly passed copyright extension in Europe is a perfect example of what's wrong with the current system. Rather than let copyrights expire and usher in a new era of creativity or create an incentive to invest in the industry, large corporations seek to hold on to income generated from business deals up to nearly three quarters of a century after they were made.

    Instead of protecting and encouraging investment in an industry it is actually diminishing it, as large companies seek to monetise existing products instead of innovating. That goes against the very reason they protections were introduced. They have failed the common sense test.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm wonder what 'basic telecoms technology' Samsung could have patened

    Surely 'basic telecoms technology' is something used by Fisher-Price baby alarms - and just about every device that 'coms' in one form or another.

    And also surely, 'basic telecoms technology' must pre-date anything Samsung might have invented - especially as (according to wikiP) their telecoms business only started in the 80s with telephone switchboards.

    Something else puzzles me - after reading the wikiP. Samsung is now a mega-corp involved in multiple industries - a bit like Hitachi. I can't see how a company that started as a woolen mill in the 1950s, had the necessary where-with-all to develop all the things it got into without copying other companies products along the way.

    I might be wrong, but I don't think I am.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    A title...

    Apple have brought this on themselves to be honest, I really hope Samsung win for the good of "innovation" in a broken system.

    I wonder though if Apple have found a new supplier for components or even fabing them themselves without necessary playing ball with the complex wireless licensing system. Be a bit silly if they are..

  31. Dick Emery

    1. Peter 48
      Thumb Up

      nice chart

      aside from the blackberry and to a degree the sony all the other handsets follow a similar design language, however they all show differentiations large enough to tell them apart.

  32. Chris007

    why do samsung have to wait until the iPhone 5 comes out...

    ... before checking if it violates their patents???

    Apple managed to get a court to order Samsung to send them [Apple] some pre-release version of the Samsung Tabs so they could "check it doesn't invalidate our patents".

    Why the hell don't Samsung use the same court and ask the same question - Apple would go fricken' ape at having to put an iPhone 5 "out in the wild". That would be hilarious to see

    Come on Samsung play Apple at their own game - they got pre-release versions you should too.

  33. Rex Alfie Lee

    Poor, poor Apple...

    How sad is this day? Not sad, joyful for hath not Apple brought upon themselves the seeds of my delight?

    Sucked in you A(pple)-holes...

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