Samsung seeks peek at next iPhone, iPad in Apple patent spat

Samsung filed a request in federal court asking a judge to order Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to give its outside counsel access to unreleased versions of its iPhone and iPad tablet as part of an ongoing patent dispute between the two companies.

Samsung filed a motion for an expedited discovery request Friday night with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Samsung is asking Apple to turn over the products and their packaging by June 13. An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The request, which represents another step in technology brinkmanship in patent disputes, comes after U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ordered Samsung earlier this month to give Apple's outside counsel access to some announced but unreleased versions of its products. The judge gave Samsung 30 days to give Apple's lawyers access to the Android-based Droid Charge, Galaxy S II and Infuse 4G smartphones, as well as two tablets, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 10.1. Apple had asked for the products to see if they should be part of the lawsuit and whether to ask for a preliminary injunction to prevent them from going on sale in the U.S.

"It would put Samsung at a significant disadvantage in this litigation if the court allowed Apple access to Samsung's future products ... but prevented Samsung from gaining access to Apple's future products so that it could prepare its defense," Samsung said in its filing, arguing that it needs to see the final commercial versions of the products to "evaluate whether a likelihood of confusion exists" between Apple's products and Samsung's. 

The main difference, of course, between the two requests is that Apple filed to see products that have already been announced, while Apple has not, as its practice, confirmed the existence of the next versions of the iPhone and iPad. Apple had said in its filing earlier this month that any preliminary injunction it files against Samsung "would be based on products Apple currently has in the market."

Apple sued Samsung in April, arguing Samsung's smartphones and tablets "slavishly" copied Apple products. Samsung promptly countersued, arguing that it was Apple that was infringing.

For more:
- see this ThisIsMyNext post
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article

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