Court allows Apple, Samsung to add recent products in patent suit

Apple was also allowed to withdraw infringement claims against Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini

A court in California has allowed Apple and Samsung Electronics to add recent products from both companies in a patent infringement lawsuit.

Apple was also allowed to drop its bid to include Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini among infringing products after the South Korean company said it had no immediate plans to release the Galaxy S III Mini in the U.S.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division in an order on Wednesday allowed a joint stipulation filed by Apple and Samsung regarding their motions to amend their infringement contentions.

Samsung filed in November to amend its infringement contentions to include the iPad mini and latest versions of the iPod touch and iPad, among other changes.

It said in the filing in November that the products were released by Apple after Samsung submitted its original infringement contentions on June 15, and a motion to supplement on Oct. 1 that added the iPhone 5 to products that allegedly infringe its patents.

Apple also filed in November for leave to amend its contentions to include Samsung's Galaxy S III running the Android Jelly Bean operating system, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Tab 8.9 running Ice Cream Sandwich, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Rugby Pro, and the Galaxy S III Mini.

Judge Grewal has previously indicated that he would allow the addition of new products or newer versions of existing products in the lawsuit.

"Given the early stage of this litigation and the reasoning of this order, the court notes that Apple should think twice before opposing similar amendments reflecting other newly-released products -- e.g. the iPad 4 and iPad mini -- that Samsung may propose in the near future," Judge Grewal wrote in a November order allowing the inclusion of the iPhone 5 and some Samsung products. Any amended contentions were to be served no later than Nov. 23, he added.

Apple said in the joint filing on Tuesday that its withdrawal of the Galaxy S III Mini is without prejudice to its right to move to assert infringement against the device should Samsung make, use, sell, offer to sell, or import the Galaxy S III Mini into the U.S.

The lawsuit is one of two patent infringement disputes between Apple and Samsung pending before the court. In the other lawsuit, a jury decided in August that Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion for infringing several of its patents in Samsung smartphones and tablets.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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