Samsung’s lawyers are spending the weekend curled up with the iPhone’s source code — an Australian judge recently ordered Apple to turn it over as part of the ongoing patent lawsuit in that country. The move isn’t unexpected: we assumed it would happen after Samsung asked for the code in Australia last week. And while we don’t have all the details on what transpired in the courtroom, we’ve been able to piece together a pretty good idea of what happened.
It makes sense that Samsung’s source code request was granted — it’s how you evaluate patent infringement claims when you’re dealing with this type of technology. Apple apparently began handing over the iPhone 4S source code yesterday, and while disputes over whether Apple’s code production is adequate will surely be raised by Samsung in the future, it seems that this particular discovery argument has been resolved in Samsung’s favor without too much fanfare.
As we expected, though, the more controversial issue was over whether Samsung was entitled to the agreements between Apple and the regional telcos. Apple argued these documents were highly confidential and irrelevant to Samsung’s infringement allegations. On this issue, the judge acted swiftly but cautiously, ordering Apple to hand over certain terms of the contracts to Samsung. The court then determined that based on Apple’s representations of what was contained in the documents, Samsung’s allegations that Apple demanded preferential treatment from the telcos didn’t have any legs. With that, the judge called the issue tangential and set it aside for now.
Neither of these rulings are too surprising — the hearing on Samsung’s motion to block sales of the iPhone 4S in Australia is scheduled to start November 15, and the court is keeping everyone focused on the merits of the actual patent infringement case. We’ll let you know what happens next week.