Court bans Galaxy, iPhone sales
Apple and Samsung Electronics must stop selling some smartphones and tablet computers in South Korea and pay damages after a Seoul court ruled they infringed on each other's patents.
Apple, maker of the iPhone, violated two Samsung patents related to mobile-data transfer technologies, the Seoul Central District Court said today. Samsung, the world's largest mobile phone maker, infringed one Apple patent related to a "bounce- back" touchscreen feature, though the South Korea-based company didn't copy the design of the iPhone, the court said.
The sales bans don't cover Apple's iPhone 4S, its newest iPad, or Samsung's latest products including the Galaxy S III phone, all of which were released after the lawsuits were filed. The companies have sued each other on four continents since April, accusing each other of copying products, design and technology as they battle for dominance of a smartphone market estimated by Bloomberg Industries to be worth $219 billion.
"The ruling is in line with what we had expected," Im Jeong Jae, a Seoul-based fund manager at Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management, which oversees about $29 billion, said by phone today. "What's important is how the verdict that's coming out soon in the US will affect other pending cases in places like Europe and Australia."
"We welcome today's ruling, which affirms our position that Apple has been using our mobile telecommunications standards patents without having obtained the necessary licenses," Samsung said in a statement. "Today's ruling also affirmed our position that one single company cannot monopolise generic design features."
Calls to a Seoul-based spokesman for Apple went unanswered.
Under the ruling, Apple must stop selling the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and
iPad 2 in South Korea, while Samsung must stop selling 12 products including the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab.
The sales bans take effect immediately, though the companies can ask the court to rescind them.
"These products all came out a while ago, so the actual impact won't be big," Kim Hyung Sik, a Seoul-based analyst at Taurus Investment Securities said. "The US case is the important one. Even a neutral verdict there would be a victory for Samsung."
Samsung and Apple, the world's two largest smartphone makers, are battling each other in courts even as they are bound by commercial deals involving components supply.
In the last quarter, the South Korean company controlled about 35 per cent of the global smartphone market, followed by Apple with about 18 per cent, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics.