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Apple vs Samsung: The Long War

US Proceedings

Apple has lost its appeal to ban the sale of 26 patent infringing Samsung devices in the US after it failed to establish that these Samsung products had a detrimental effect on consumer demand for its products.

The US Court acknowledged that while Samsung may have eroded Apple’s customer base, there was no evidence to suggest that the infringement would have wiped out Apple’s customer base or forced it out of the smartphone sector. The trial judge noted that ‘’the present case involves lost sales’’, not the lost ability to engage in the smartphone market.

Samsung has issued a statement that it is pleased with the judge’s decision regarding Apple’s appeal and noted that it will consider whether further measures will be required in relation to a retrial (see below). Apple has declined to comment on the ruling.

In a separate filing, Samsung was denied its appeal for a retrial on the matter. It had been argued that the foreman of the jury in the original trial had engaged in misconduct by failing to disclose his involvement in a lawsuit involving Seagate Technology Inc., a company in which Samsung is a shareholder.

Further, the decision of the US Court concerning the extent of the award of damages, currently at $1.049 billion, has not yet been resolved. Apple has applied for the maximum increase (up to three times the current amount), while Samsung is seeking a reduction in the amount awarded.

US Patent

In an interesting turn of events, a key Apple patent successfully used in its US litigation is now at risk following a re-examination by the US Patent and Trademark Office. It is reported that all 21 claims of this US patent (known as the ‘‘pinch to zoom’’ patent) have been rejected by the US Patent Office. This will no doubt be relevant to Samsung’s efforts for a retrial of the above proceedings.

European Proceedings

It has also being reported that Samsung will modify its proceedings against Apple in the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Italy regarding its wireless technology. Samsung is not expected to drop its lawsuits in each jurisdiction, but is expected to withdraw its request for a product sales ban. Its claims now rest for financial compensation from Apple for the use of its 3G-essential patents. This decision by Samsung may assist it with an ongoing formal investigation by the European Commission regarding use by Samsung of its essential patent rights to distort the competition in the European mobile device market.

View our previous articles on the Apple/Samsung saga here, here and here.

Contributed by  David Cullen, Brian McElligott