Court blocks US sales of old Samsung phones in Apple battle

19 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Wins Latest Round in Neverending Samsung Patent Fight.

WASHINGTON: A federal appeals court is blocking Samsung Electronics from selling some of its older smartphones in the US in the latest twist to a long-running legal battle over how much of the devices’ technology was copied from Apple’s iPhone. Washington – Apple won a court ruling that may force Samsung Electronics to stop using some features in its older-model Galaxy smartphones and tablets and gives the iPhone maker a leg up in the four-year-old dispute.The court of appeals for the federal circuit in Washington DC said the lower court, led by US district judge Lucy Koh, abused its discretion by denying Apple an injunction against Samsung after a jury ordered the Korean company to pay $120m in May last year for infringing three of Apple’s patents.

A US appeals court said Apple was entitled to a narrow order that prevents the South Korean device maker from using Apple’s slide-to-unlock, autocorrect and quicklinks features. According to the court order, Cupertino should have been granted an injunction on Apple-patented technology that Samsung cribbed for its own phones: quick links, slide to unlock, and autocorrect. The appeals court ruling said that Apple’s proposed injunction is narrow because it does not want to ban Samsung’s devices from the marketplace, and that Samsung can remove the patented features without recalling its products. The whole battle dates back to 2011, but this particular part of it got started about a year ago when a California jury awarded Apple $120 million for patent infringement. The decision is a notable win for Apple, which has argued Samsung should have to do more than pay monetary damages for infringing upon Apple’s patented technology.

After the jury verdict last year, Koh refused Apple’s request for a permanent injunction to stop Samsung from selling the infringing features on its smartphones. The decision could have far-reaching consequences in how disputes are resolved when it comes to complex devices, and help patent owners limit copying by rivals. Apple had argued that ongoing infringement by Samsung damaged its reputation as an innovator and caused it to lose sales of devices and downstream products.

Calling Apple’s injunction request “unfounded”, a spokeswoman said Samsung will ask the full slate of federal circuit judges to review the latest decision. Samsung could also revise the features covered by the injunction, something that the company has previously indicated it might do if prodded by the courts.

Thursday’s decision reversed that trend. “This ruling reinvigorates patent holders in keeping companies off the market,” said Rutgers University law professor Michael Carrier. “Apple now has a weapon it can use in two ways: in future litigation with Samsung and others, and in settlement negotiations.” Despite Apple’s win on legal principle, the immediate practical effect could be limited. The two companies are embroiled in a separate case stemming from 2012, which saw Apple initially awarded $930m for Samsung infringing patents and design features, which was reduced by $382m in May this year. Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have been locked in a bitter feud for years over the patents covering a variety of features commonly used in many smartphones.

A past Apple settlement with HTC Corp. included a “no cloning” provision that ensured HTC’s phones didn’t look too similar to the iPhone, and the ruling Thursday helps do the same to other makers, like China’s Xiaomi, that want to enter the US market. Samsung emerged as Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone market, making it the target of a legal onslaught that has continued long after Jobs’ death nearly four years ago. The firms argued that a decision against Samsung would have a “devastating impact on companies that spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components”. µ Juries in two separate federal court trials in San Jose, California, decided some of the features in Samsung’s phones and tablets infringed on Apple’s patents covering iPhone innovations.

In the years since, the case expanded to dozens of courts around the globe, including South Korea, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, and the U.K. He reiterated the company’s previous comments that “courts around the world” have found that Samsung “wilfully stole our ideas and copied our products”. Last year, Apple and Samsung agreed to drop all patent litigation outside of the U.S., leaving only its American-based cases to be settled in the courtroom. The specific features had some impact on customer decisions to buy products, and that should be considered when determining whether to block use of an invention, the court said. Apple can go back and argue to the trial judge that Samsung’s newer versions still infringe the patents, setting up yet more legal debates between the two. “The public generally does not benefit when that competition comes at the expense of a patentee’s investment- backed property right,” Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore wrote for the majority. “This is not a case where the public would be deprived of Samsung’s products.

In a September 11 filing with the court in San Francisco, both sides said they were willing to work with a mediator to resolve the case, with Apple going so far as to suggest binding arbitration. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles.

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