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Apple drops Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini from patent suit

Why file a patent claim against a device that isn't actually going to be sold in the region where you're filing the claim?

Such has been the peculiarity presented to Apple, which announced on 28 December that it's no longer pursuing patent claims against Samsung's Galaxy S3 Mini smartphone, according to Reuters.

Samsung said it is not "making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing" the Galaxy S3 Mini in the US, and has maintained this stance ever since Apple asked a California court last month to add the device to its latest complaint.

Apple initially argued that its ability to purchase an unlocked Galaxy S3 Mini smartphone from Amazon, and have it billed and shipped to a US address, was enough to qualify that the device was being sold in the US. As such, Apple argued that it should be allowed to include the smartphone as part of the list of current devices it claims infringe its patents.

As part of Apple's withdrawal, the company indicated that it would do so, "so long as the current withdrawal will not prejudice Apple's ability later to accuse the Galaxy S III Mini if the factual circumstances change," Reuters said.

Apple won its first round of patent litigation against Samsung this past August - and $1.05 billion (£650 million) in damages - but that hardly put an end to the two companies' legal squabbles.

The Galaxy S3 mini case is separate from the case that was tried in August, though it is moving through the same court. It dates back to February 2012, when Apple sued Samsung (again) over eight patents; Samsung countersued over eight patents of its own. The case is not expected to go to trial until March 2014.

In other words, Apple's second patent infringement lawsuit includes devices and claims that the company didn't address in the first case. Apple has been zealous about amending its filing to include more Samsung devices as warranted. Samsung, in turn, has been granted permission to add Apple's iPhone 5 to its own patent infringement claims.

Samsung launched the 4in Galaxy S3 Mini in Europe in November, which numerous pundits saw as a direct assault against Apple's similarly sized iPhone 5.