Sunday27 November 2022

South Korean Court Bans Older Samsung and Apple Phones And Tablets

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Although Samsung and Apple are waging a global patent war against each other most eyes are fixed on the US where a group of nine people will decide who gets to file for appeal. However, while we all wait for that exciting moment in history to happen there is another case that is going on in South Korea between these two competitors. The case covers the same basic patents between the two companies and the same phones so the details are a little boring. What was interesting is that the South Korean courts decided to wait on a verdict while the US trial was underway. Many thought they were going to wait until a US verdict was reach and then hand down a judgment that matched. However, it just seems they may have wanted to hear all of the facts in the US case before making a decision.

A decision has been made and while the outcome was not unexpected it is interesting. The Seoul Central District Court has stated that Apple did infringe on two Samsung Patents that relate to mobile data transfer and Samsung infringed on the bounceback patent that Apple holds. The court has imposed a ban of the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4 and the iPad 1 and 2.  Samsung received a ban on the Galaxy S and S II along with the Galaxy Tab both the 7 and 10 inch versions. There were monetary damages along with this but they were minor by comparison with what is at stake in the US (Apple owes Samsung $35,000 and Samsung about $22,000). Apple did not win out on any of their claimed design patents which is see as a victory for the whole smartphone market by many even if this judgment only relates to South Korea.

The new iPad, iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S III are not covered in this decision as they were not on the market at the time the suits were filed. What we do find interesting is that Samsung may have an easier time getting around the sales bans than Apple. Although both sides can request that the bans be rescinded our understanding is that the courts could (and probably will) also ask them to show that they have either licensed or remove the infringing items. For Samsung an OS update to the phones can remove the bounceback feature while Samsung’s patents are a little harder for Apple to implement a workaround for. It is possible, but it would be more costly and would reduce the functionality of the phone.

As you might expect Samsung was happy with this outcome stating: “Today’s ruling also affirmed our position that one single company cannot monopolize generic design features.” This marks the third time that Apple has lost on their design patents with Australia and the UK also rejecting the idea that Apple’s generic patent along with their claims of copying by Samsung. In the UK Apple may still have to publish statements to the effect that Samsung did not copy Apple on their UK Website and in certain online and print magazines. This was a penalty handed down by the UK judge that found over 50 unique items where the design of the Tab and iPad differ.

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Last modified on Friday, 24 August 2012 16:05

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