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Apple, Samsung drop 'impressive' number of patent claims against each other

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In their California lawsuit, Apple and Samsung have greatly reduced the number of patent infringement claims against one another, although there is no indication that the companies are any closer to settling their differences.

Late on Monday, Apple made a filing in the suit that roughly cut the number of patent infringement claims in half. Intellectual property expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said Apple's move was "a truly impressive narrowing of its infringement claims."

Five hours after Apple reduced the scope of its complaint, Samsung responded in kind, and offered to drop five of its 12 asserted patents. The reductions came after Judge Lucy Koh last week ordered the companies to cut down the number of claims they are making against each other.

"I think that's cruel and unusual punishment to a jury, so I'm not willing to do it," Koh said of the multitude of patents and products included in the case. "If you're going to trial in July, this is not going to be acceptable."

Though a significant number of claims were dropped from the case, two companies remain strongly at odds, as Apple feels Samsung has not been cooperative, and Samsung believes Apple's case is too big to go to trial this summer.

Apple also continues to assert that Samsung has made "copycat products" that infringe on its own designs, while Samsung has contended that its devices are "innovative, independently developed technologies."

"Between these two companies here, there can be no doubt about who's copied from whom, just like there can be no doubt about who singlehandedly revolutionized an industry," Mueller wrote. "The only question left to be answered is about scope: which of the asserted rights are both valid and infringed?"

Apple believes that Samsung's alleged infringement has allowed the company to become the worldwide leader in smartphone sales. Because of that, Apple has argued that Samsung's damages "reach billions of dollars."

Samsung's continued success was cited by Apple as a key reason that its patent infringement trial needs to start on July 30. By holding the trial this summer, the court will be able to "put an end to Samsung's continuing infringement," Apple said.

For its part, Samsung has said that Apple is "seeking to compete through litigation" rather than in the market. The company also said in court that Apple has only cited "utility patents covering extremely minor user interface features, and design patents and trade dresses that offer far narrower protection than Apple urges."