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Judge Calls Apple/Samsung Spat 'Ridiculous'

Judge Calls Apple/Samsung Spat 'Ridiculous'

Today in international tech news: An Australian judge calls out Apple and Samsung in one of the two companies' endless patent disputes. Also: Chinese officials explain why they couldn't send text message warnings ahead of deadly Beijing floods, and a report says that developing nations could soon be hotbeds for cybercrime.

By David Vranicar
07/23/12 11:19 AM PT

An Australian judge called a patent dispute between Samsung and Apple "ridiculous," according to Bloomberg.

In this particular case -- the two companies have a lot of cases at the moment -- Samsung is suing Apple, claiming that Apple infringed on three patents dealing with data transmission on 3G wireless networks.

The suit, according to Bloomberg, is in response to Apple's claim that Samsung lifted its iPad and iPhone design for tablets and phones, respectively. A trial in Australia over those charges is set to begin Monday. (Apple recently lost a similar case in the United Kingdom.)

"Why on earth are these proceedings going ahead?" the Australian judge asked lawyers Monday, before calling the situation "ridiculous." She then suggested that the cases should go to mediation.

Apple spent several months in 2011 fighting, to no avail, to prohibit the sale of Samsung's tablet in Australia.

Apple and Samsung are engaged in legal tiffs all over the world, fighting for market share in the increasingly valuable arena of mobile devices. Apple has repeatedly accused Samsung of "blatant copying," while Samsung justifies its suit by saying it is merely protecting its patent rights.

All told, the two companies have filed at least 30 lawsuits against one another.

Earlier this year, a German judge rejected patent infringement claims by Apple and Samsung, although more patent disputes are on tap in German courts.

An industry expert quoted by Bloomberg said that the Australian case might be a sort of rehearsal for upcoming cases in bigger markets.

Beijing Deflects Text-Message Criticism

China's government said it would have been impossible to send text message warnings to citizens about flooding in Beijing, according to TechInAsia.com.

Recent floods in Beijing have killed at least 37 people, stirring anger about the lack of warning from Beijing's Meteorological Bureau. According to Tech In Asia, people have asked why mass text message warnings weren't sent advising people to stay indoors. (According to Tech In Asia, an estimated 95 percent of Beijingers own mobile phones .)

However, an official from the Meteorological Bureau told a Beijing newspaper that sending out such mass texts was impossible. The official said that while the Bureau does indeed have the capacity to send text warnings, it can only send 400 per minute. Thus, with Beijing's size -- at least 20 million -- it would have take some 830 hours to send the requisite messages. The official added that an adequate text message system will be in place in the next few years.

According to Tech In Asia, China Telecom issued a statement saying that there would be no technological issues sending out a mass text to all its subscribers. It added that it did not send out such a warning during the floods because, alas, it is not allowed to unless directed by government authorities.

Cybercrime In Developing Nations

Parts of Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe could become hotbeds for cybercrime in the coming years, according to research discussed by the BBC.

The research, from the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance, points out that faster Internet connections could foster crime. What's more, many of the countries mentioned do not have well-developed cyberlaws. To that end, UK law enforcement officials have begun working with Ghana's government to prevent crime and prosecute offenders.

Other specific countries of interest include Kenya, India, Bulgaria and the Philippines. Parts of Latin America have also been mentioned as potentially problematic for cybercrime.

The ICSPA is a coalition of business, law enforcement agencies and securities companies.


Tech Trek is a blog that looks at tech news from around the world. David Vranicar is a freelance journalist currently living in the Netherlands. His ECT News Network archive, with links to articles and podcasts, is available here. You can email him at david.vranicar@newsroom.ectnews.com



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