You Snooze, You Lose
It's interesting that Apple chose to wait until after five U.S. carriers announced shipping dates and prices for the Galaxy S3, amending their Galaxy Nexus complaint against Samsung to include the Galaxy S3 the day before it was scheduled to be heard. It's as if Apple waited until they felt the time was right, leaving insufficient time for Samsung to prepare a proper legal rebuttal. While this is obviously speculative reasoning, it should be noted that Samsung announced S-Voice early last month and had already released the Galaxy S3 last week. Apple was well aware of S-Voice, and had ample opportunity to determine whether S-Voice infringed on any of their patents. Furthermore, the "data tapping" issue has been a long-standing complaint against Android in general (basically, Apple is attacking Android by proxy, suing OEMs rather than Google directly - data tapping has long been featured in all Android devices, not just HTC's).
Samsung's predictable response was that Apple cannot amend an existing complaint the day before it's scheduled to be heard, and should have to file a new complaint seeking a preliminary injunction against importing Galaxy S3 handsets. Meanwhile, on the HTC front, Apple also waited until yesterday to accuse HTC of continuing to infringe upon its data tapping patent, despite HTC's customs-clearing workaround for its One series handsets. In yesterday's complaint to the ITC, though, Apple decided to include a total of 29 HTC devices comprising its entire current Android lineup, in an obvious attempt to cripple HTC by banning all imports of HTC handsets. If Apple succeeds, it will likely be a deathblow to the struggling manufacturer, which already faced setbacks last year due to Apple's legal maneuvering.
Obviously, if Apple is granted a preliminary injunction against HTC, one of the three largest Android manufacturers will likely be eliminated. However, recent history seems to indicate that at best Apple will only partially succeed in its war (the One series devices did clear customs, after all). Motorola, being a domestic manufacturer, is not as vulnerable to ITC complaints as is HTC, and even if Apple gained an injunction preventing imports of the Galaxy S III, Samsung's global sales will be more than enough for its newest flagship to remain king of the hill among Android handsets. At worst, Samsung will face a PR fiasco should U.S. customers be forced to wait until the injunction was lifted. We'll keep you updated as new information comes in, including the results of today's hearing of Apple's complaint against Samsung.
Apple's Latest Litigation Litany Part 1