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Judge in Samsung's Australian patent suit against Apple calls proceedings 'ridiculous' as trial begins

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A suit by Samsung against Apple over 3G has begun in Australia, but the judge has called it 'ridiculous,' asking why it should not be moved to mediation.

A trial over whether Apple infringed on Samsung 3G patents has begun in Sydney, the latest step in a global fight between the two companies. But Bloomberg reports that Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett, who is overseeing the trial, has called it "ridiculous," asking the lawyers "Why on earth are these proceedings going ahead?" Bennett then questioned why she should not send Apple and Samsung into mediation, saying she would expect an answer by the end of the week. The two companies have previously been ordered to mediation in the US, but the session produced "no clear agreement."

Samsung filed its Australian charges in response to a similar suit by Apple, which was later expanded to cover 22 patents. Samsung claims that Apple "refused to engage in negotiations" over licensing its 3G patents, but Apple lawyer Stephen Burley disputes this, insisting that Apple was willing to pay and Samsung refused. The trial began today and is set to run through the end of the week, with further sessions planned through October.