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Judge rules Apple needs to reveal Samsung Australian telco contracts

A judge has told Apple it must show Samsung its contracts with Australian mobile-phone carriers, media are reporting.

Bloomberg reported that Samsung had asserted in its patent lawsuit that carriers are contractually obliged to subsidize iPhone sales, and that if Apple disagreed with this assertion, it needed to produce contracts it had with Vodafone Group, SingTel Optus and Telstra Corporation.

Justice Bennett ruled the contracts were relevant to Samsung’s case, with Apple saying it would oppose the disclosure, suggesting it was a speculative effort to find damaging information, Bloomberg reported.

This is the latest move in the patent flamewar which has the companies battling in law courts in about 10 countries, according to Reuters.

In October, Apple won an interlocutory injunction in Australia against the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, until a full patent hearing could be held.

Prior to this, Samsung had announced its intentions to file a preliminary injunction to block the sale of the iPhone 4S in Italy and France.

Apple had previously accused Samsung of "slavishly" copying the iPhone and iPad with the Galaxy range, and first applied for an injunction against the tablet's sale in Australia in August.

Samsung promptly countersued, claiming Apple had infringed seven of its patents.

The patent war is a widespread one; Apple has also sued Motorola and HTC, but was sued by Nokia in 2009.

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