Freshfields and Simmons go head-to-head in Apple-Samsung dispute

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is preparing for battle with Simmons & Simmons in a showdown between its client Apple and Simmons’ client Samsung.

Samsung is looking for a legal declaration of non-infringement against Apple, which has launched a series of claims around the world against its rival alleging design rights infringement.

At the heart of the row is whether Samsung can sell its tablet Galaxy across Europe without infringing Apple’s Registered Community Infringement protections for its rival model, iPad.

Freshfields partner Justin Watts has instructed 3 New Square’s Simon Thorley QC fro Apple, while Simmons partner David Stone has instructed 11 South Square’s Henry Carr QC for Samsung.

Earlier this month Apple successfully applied to have claims brought by Samsung’s Korean parent, Samsung Electronics Co (SEC), dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Assertions by Carr that Samsung had an arguable case that groundless threats to bring infringement proceedings had been made by Apple were rejected by the court.

Nevertheless, SEC’s UK subsidiary, Samsung Electronics (UK), is entitled to have the matter heard in the High Court and any outcome would be binding across the European Union.

Mr Justice Mann, however, agreed that the case should be expedited and a hearing has been set for June to enable the claimant to remove uncertainty as to whether its products infringed Apple’s design rights.

Last year, Apple sought injunctive relief against Samsung in Germany and the Netherlands complaining that Samsung’s Galaxy infringed it’s design rights.

The injunction was rejected in the Netherlands while in Germany it was granted in that jurisdiction alone on a competition law basis, not on the basis of the registered design.