Well well well, the whole Apple Vs. Samsung legal debacle just took a turn for the down right strange. According to ThisIsMyNext’s Nilay Patel, Samsung’s lawyers have asked courts to order Apple to hand over the company’s latest iPhone 5 and iPad 3 prototypes so they can check their own hardware doesn’t mirror that of hardware coming from Cupertino any time soon.

The move from Samsung comes after they were ordered to hand over examples of its Droid Charge, Infuse 4G, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9. The aim of the game here is apparently so Apple can decide whether they should be part of the company’s original lawsuit over trade-dress infringement where the legal team from Cupertino claims Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone rips off the iPhone’s icons and UI. This counter from Samsung does differ slightly however. While Apple asked to see hardware that’s largely already available to the public (the Galaxy Tab 8.9 is the only exception), Samsung’s request to get their hands on the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 obviously involve prototype hardware. Granted neither Samsung nor Apple will actually see the devices – their lawyers will be the only ones to witness them – the move is still one that will raise eyebrows. Apple isn’t known for sharing its prototypes with anyone – well, excluding the infamous iPhone 4!

"The court sided with Apple, in large part because Samsung had already released review units and photos of everything listed. In fact, the ruling came just days after Samsung handed out thousands of Galaxy Tab 10.1s at Google I/O, so really the only unreleased product on the list is the Tab 8.9 — a product that was announced in March and has been handled on video."

The consensus among the people in the know is that Samsung are on a bit of a fishing expedition here. The claim that they need to see Apple’s future devices so they can decide whether they may be similar to their own just in case Apple decides to go after them is a bit of a stretch, but when courts are involved anything could happen.

"So that’s Samsung’s motion. It’s pretty strange, if you think about it: Samsung is arguing that Apple might file for a preliminary injunction, and that it might happen sometime after Apple might release a new iPhone and iPad. That’s a lot of assumptions.."

We’ll be keeping an eye on this one over the coming days and weeks – it’s certainly sure to run and run. Shall we start taking bets on what will happen next?

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