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Saturday, October 01, 2011, 08:56 am PT (11:56 am ET)

Court accepts Verizon, T-Mobile briefs in Apple suit against Samsung

A U.S. District Court on Friday accepted into Apple's patent lawsuit against Samsung "friend of the court" briefs from Verizon and T-Mobile that claim a preliminary injunction of the defendant's devices is counter to public interest.

Both wireless operators recently filed requests with the U.S. District Court for the Northern California District to submit a brief on behalf of Samsung, Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents reports. Judge Lucy Koh accept both amicus curiae briefs on Friday and ruled that any rebuttal argument from Apple would be "duplicative and unnecessary at this time."

Koh did, however, side with Apple in denying T-Mobile's request to participate in a hearing on the preliminary injunction motion on Oct. 13. The iPhone maker had argued that the agenda for the hearing was already full.

The decision by Verizon and T-Mobile to get involved in the legal dispute between Apple and Samsung could put the carriers at odds with Apple. Verizon's relationship with Apple is relatively new, since the company did not begin offering the iPhone until February of this year.

T-Mobile has voiced interest in carrying the iPhone, but has said that "the ball is in Apple's court." However, the carrier's defense of Samsung is unlikely to help it bring the iPhone to its network.

Koh has also ruled that Apple can file an extended reply to Samsung's opposition after the South Korean electronics company had opposed the request. According to Mueller, Koh has taken "a rather permissive approach" to motions related to the case.

Apple is requesting a block on sales of Samsung's new Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G and Droid Charge smartphones, as well as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Verizon claimed in its brief that an injunction on 4G phones could impede the rollout of its Long-Term Evolution network, potentially affecting public safety. If such an injunction were to be approved, it would come as a heavy blow to Samsung. The company already faces an injunction on its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany.

An Australian judge is also expected to rule on an injunction request sometime next week. After agreeing to delay the device's launch until after the judge's decision, Samsung has offered a deal that an Apple attorney has conceded has "some potential benefit," though the terms of the proposal were not disclosed to the public.

Apple's legal team has revealed that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs personally contacted Samsung last year in order to resolve a complaint that its rival was copying its designs for the iPhone and iPad. "Samsung is an important supplier with whom we have a deep relationship," Apple attorney Richard Lutton reportedly said in court this week. "We wanted to give them a chance to do the right thing."

But, talks eventually broke down and Apple filed suit against Samsung in April. Samsung has since responded with its own legal action.