Samsung patent fight spreads to iPad Mini

Posted by Emma Woollacott

The iPad Mini's likely to become the target of a patent suit, with Samsung seeking permission to add it to the list of iOS devices it's targeting.

It says the Mini - along with the fourth-generation iPad - infringes its wireless patents. And it's also considering adding the fifth-generation iPod touch to its list, on the basis that it violates a Samsung patent on volume control.

Samsung says the addition of three more products to the lawsuit won't hold up the legal process.

"The proof of infringement of the patents-in-suit by the iPod Touch 5, iPad 4, andiPad Mini will be substantially the same as for other Apple devices already accused of infringement in this litigation, and there will be no impact on the parties' ongoing claim construction efforts," it says.

"The addition of these products to Samsung’s contentions will not cause any delay or materially affect the infringement analysis."

In the escalating crossfire between the two companies, the number of disputed devices is rising. Samsung was recently permitted to add the iPhone 5 to its list, while Apple added the Galaxy Note 10.1 to its own.

And with Samsung's much broader product range and faster development cycle, Apple may be planning to add more.

It's highly unlikely that the court will oppose the addition of the iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad. But it may not do the same with the iPod touch, says patent expert Florian Mueller.

"The court may very well rule on this permissively, but since it previously denied Apple a sweeping attack on Android 4.1, it might also hold Samsung to a certain stand of specificity and say that it would have had to actually name the iPod product line at an earlier stage of the proceedings," he says.

"Judge Grewal's warning to Apple that it should not waste everyone's time by opposing the addition of the iPad 4 and iPad mini therefore does not necessarily apply to the iPod question. It's a threshold issue."