Samsung sues Australia's patent office over Apple IP

Samsung has sued the Australian patent commissioner in the hope of forcing a review of key Apple patents, arguing that the protected technology was outside of the scope of the patent office's powers. The four patents – which variously cover gesture-unlocking, photo management, list scrolling and document handling – were all granted between 2009 and 2010, ITNews reports, with Samsung claiming that they duplicate existing innovation patents already in the Australian system.

The Australian patent commissioner will be represented in the ensuing court case by the Australian Government solicitor. Samsung alleges that the granted IP was "ultra vires", or beyond the powers of the commissioner – and the patent office as a whole – to sit in decision of.

2006330724 – Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image (Granted April 1, 2010)
2007283771 – Portable electronic device for photo management (Granted May 20, 2010)2008201540 – List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display (Granted February 11, 2010)2009200366 – List scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch screen display (Granted July 23, 2009)

The four patents were not present in Apple's initial complaints against Samsung, which detailed up to ten other patents the Korean company was accused of infringing. However, Apple is expected to claim Samsung overstepped the mark on 22 patents in total in final hearings between July and October, with a total of 258 claims.

"Although the application has been filed separately, it is, for all intents and purposes, part of the existing proceeding between Apple and Samsung" a Samsung spokesperson said of the new legal action. Experts expect it to be heard before the main case reaches the courtroom.