(Repeats story first published late on Monday; no change to
SYDNEY, July 23 Apple Inc and Samsung
Electronics Co began the latest round of their
long-running global patent war on Monday as an Australian judge
started hearing evidence for an anticipated three-month long
Apple and Samsung have been locked in an acrimonious battle
across 10 countries involving smartphones and tablets since
April 2011, with the Cupertino, California-based company filing
a suit in Australia saying the touch-screen technology used in
Samsung's new Galaxy 10.1 tablet violates Apple patents.
The quarrel has triggered expectations that some of the
pair's $5 billion-plus relationship may be up for grabs. Samsung
counts Apple as its biggest customer and makes parts central to
Apple's mobile devices.
While any decision in the Australian case is unlikely to
have a substantial impact in other jurisdictions like Europe or
the United States where the technology giants are also suing
each other, the trial proceedings could reshape the legal
strategies employed by Apple and Samsung in other countries,
Mark Summerfield, a patent lawyer and senior associate with
Melbourne-based law firm Watermark, said "there's no doubt
there's a strategic and psychological effect" attached to the
Australian case. "Courts in other countries will watch what is
happening here," he said.
Apple and Samsung representatives declined to comment on
Monday at the hearing.
The Australian case arose in April 2011 when Apple said
Samsung copied the design of some of its tablet and smart phone
devices. Samsung has since launched a counterclaim in Australia
alleging that Apple infringed a number of South Korean
technology firm's data-transmission patents.
The lawsuits from both companies are being heard as one case
in the Australian federal court.
Samsung won an early round of the Australian litigation when
it succeeded in overturning an injunction on the sale of its
Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia just before Christmas last year.
But Apple won a heavyweight U.S. round when a judge banned
the sale of both Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet and the Galaxy
Nexus phone ahead of a formal trial there. Patent cases are also
pending in Britain and Germany.
Summerfield said that unless the two companies come to a
global settlement, the Australian case is likely to run until
well into 2014 as an appeal to any ruling at the end of the
current trial "is a 100 percent certainty."
(Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Matt Driskill)