Apple to pay damages to Samsung
A Dutch court has ordered Apple to pay damages to Samsung over a patent violation in the Netherlands, the latest twist in the global legal battle waged by the two rival phone and computer makers.
Apple and Samsung have been suing each other in about a dozen countries for the last few years as they compete globally for consumers in the fast-growing markets for smart phones and tablet computers.
The US company has accused Samsung of "slavishly" copying the iPhone and iPad tablet through products that run on Google's Android software. The Korean firm has counter-sued with claims accusing Apple of infringing its patents.
A court in The Hague ruled Apple had violated a Samsung patent used in some of Apple's phones and tablet computers to connect to the internet, and said damages should be based on certain iPhone and iPad sales in the Netherlands.
The violation applies to iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4 and iPad 1 and 2, the court said.
Damages should be based on Dutch sales figures since August 4th, 2010, which the court said was the date when Apple could have known it was violating Samsung's patent.
A Samsung spokeswoman said she did not know whether the ruling had any international implications, nor did she know how much money Samsung would ask for.
An Apple spokesman had no immediate comment.
The Dutch court dismissed three other patent infringements claimed by Samsung.
Apple has a complex relationship with Samsung, a conglomerate that makes computer chips, Galaxy smartphones and televisions.
While Samsung's smartphones and tablet computers run on Android and compete with Apple's products, Samsung is also a key components supplier to Apple.
Separately, Apple is trying to salvage a high-profile lawsuit against Google's Motorola Mobility unit today at a crucial hearing in the smartphone patent wars between the two tech companies.
Federal Judge Richard Posner in Chicago will hear Apple argue why it should be able to seek an order barring the sale of some Motorola phones. The decision could affect the iPhone maker's ability to negotiate favourable licensing agreements in its legal fights against Motorola and other competitors like Samsung.
Apple has waged an international patent war since 2010, part of its attempt to limit growth of Google's Android, the world's best-selling mobile operating platform. Opponents of Apple, meanwhile, say it is using patents too aggressively in its bid to stamp out the competition.
Motorola sued Apple in October 2010, a move widely seen as a pre-emptive strike. Apple filed its own claims against Motorola the same month.
Judge Posner issued a series of pretrial rulings that eliminated nearly all of Motorola's patent claims against Apple, while maintaining more of Apple's claims against Motorola. That meant Apple had more to gain at the trial, which had been set to start last week.
However, earlier this month Judge Posner cancelled the trial, saying in a tentative ruling that neither side could prove damages. An injunction would be "contrary to the public interest," he wrote.
But last week Judge Posner granted Apple's request for a hearing on a possible injunction, and ordered both sides to submit legal arguments in advance. Those documents were filed under seal on Monday.
Motorola may also ask for an injunction on the one patent in the case that it can still assert against Apple.
A clear victory in one of the US legal cases could strengthen Apple's hand in negotiating cross-licensing deals, where companies agree to let each other use their patented technologies. Apple and Samsung are scheduled for trial July 30th in federal court in California.