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Judge tells Apple to reveal Australian contracts to Samsung


Things are really heating up between Apple and Samsung in Australia. In the war between the two electronics behemoths, a judge ruled that Apple Inc. must now provide Samsung Electronics Co. with copies of contracts with Australian mobile-phone carriers.

If you remember this story, Samsung has sued Apple in Australia claiming that the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 infringe on patents that the company holds for various wireless technologies. For some reason, Samsung asserts in the patent lawsuit that carriers are contractually obligated to subsidize iPhone sales -- that's not surprising, since that's standard procedure for many carriers and many phone manufacturers.

However, Australia Federal Court Justices Annabelle Bennett ordered Apple to produce agreements that it has with Vodafone, SingTel Optus, and Telstra if they don't agree on the assertion. Apple's lawyer Andrew Fox told the judge that "This is quite clearly a fishing expedition," and that Apple will fight the disclosure, suggesting that it's an effort to find other damaging evidence.

The Samsung lawsuit was filed in September after Apple requested a court order to bar the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. Apple did win that battle, with an injunction granted on October 13. Apple has also been required to turn over 220 pages of documents to Samsung relating to the source code for the iPhone 4S firmware, but Samsung wasn't happy with what they got, stating that there was a "missing file."

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