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UK fast-tracks Apple/Samsung design case

A judge in the England & Wales High Court has said that a trial between smartphone rivals Apple and Samsung in a designs dispute can be held in June

Yesterday Mr Justice Mann accepted Samsung's request for an expedited hearing in the case, in which it is seeking a declaration of non-infringement against Apple's registered Community designs. It is also seeking an injunction restraining Apple from making threats to sue for infringement.

Samsung argued that a hearing should be expedited to remove uncertainty about whether its products infringe Apple's rights.

Mann rejected a request that the trial be heard as soon as this month, but said it could be heard in June. It is expected to last one or two days.

Apple had opposed the acceleration of the trial and may appeal the decision. It had also challenged Samsung's right to bring the action in the UK.

Apple had previously sued Samsung for infringing its Community designs in Germany and the Netherlands, winning an injunction in the former but not the latter. Further proceedings in both these cases, and in Spain, are expected later this year.

On August 9 last year Samsung filed invalidation actions against the registered design rights at OHIM. Invalidation decisions typically take about a year, so these will also be expected during 2012.

The parties are also contesting various cases to do with patent rights in Europe and elsewhere.

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