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Apple v Samsung case set for 8 March

By Chloe Herrick

An official early final hearing date has been set in the Federal Court for the case brought against Apple by Samsung, in which the latter is seeking to ban the sale of the iPhone 4S in Australia.

The South Korean manufacturer moved to ban the iPhone 4S on the basis that it allegedly infringes on three of its wireless patents and lodged an application for an interlocutory injunction to halt the sale of the handset in Australia. However it has since withdrawn the application on the basis that the early final hearing begins in March.

The case follows Apple earlier this year suing Samsung over its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, which the former alleges infringes on a number of its patents. Apple won an interlocutory injunction to have the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet banned in Australia until the case can be resolved.

In a directions hearing today, presiding judge, Justice Annabelle Bennett, confirmed she would begin work on the case on 8 March 2012 to get herself up to speed "rather than come in uneducated", but noted the case may not begin in court until the following week.

Legal counsel for Apple, Stephen Burley, again put up strong opposition to the hearing's commencement in March, claiming a various members of his legal team would not be available in March and April and that it should wait until similar cases between the two vendors were heard overseas.

However Samsung refused to accept any date later than March, with its lawyers claiming any delay would prompt the move to reapply for an interlocutory injunction.

Justice Bennett said all issues in the six week case would be heard by no later than 28 April.

She said it was in both parties interest to have a trial with the shortest duration possible and urged them to agree on all facts prior the case being heard.

Specifically, Samsung was ordered to include their request for source code from the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 in their statement of facts and contentions after Apple claimed there had been no request for the information. Apple would then have a 10-day period to respond with the information.

In a directions hearing last week, Samsung was forced to back away from its demand for access to the un-redacted versions of Apple's carrier agreements after the Apple's legal counsel successfully claimed the information sought was not in the documents.

Samsung sought copies of contracts with Telstra, Vodafone and Optus, in an effort to obtain evidence that Apple benefited from greater subsidies for the iPhone than handsets from rival manufacturers.

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