Samsung may need to delay new products after patents ruling

 

SAMSUNG MAY need to delay introducing new mobile devices so it can change their designs after a US jury ruled that the world’s top maker of smartphones infringed Apple patents.

Apple won a $1 billion (€799 million) judgment on Friday that may also halt US sales of Samsung’s mobile products.

The companies return to court next month for a hearing on Apple’s request for a permanent ban on devices including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Samsung vaulted to the top of a global smartphone market valued at $219 billion by introducing a variety of Galaxy models using Google’s Android software.

The South Korean company may have to postpone some product releases at a time when it needs to compete against Apple’s new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad, both expected to be unveiled in the next two months.

“The verdict is worse for Samsung than what many had anticipated, and it will have to change some products in its pipeline,” said Chang In Whan, president of Seoul-based KTB Asset Management. However, a spokesman for Samsung said its schedules for debuting new products won’t be affected by the verdict.

Samsung has worked around other sales bans by modifying some features of its products. The company last year changed the frame of a Galaxy Tab model and the location of speakers after Apple won an injunction banning its sales in Germany.

The global line-up for the rest of this year includes the next version of the Galaxy Note, which sold more than 10 million units in less than a year. The company began selling a tablet edition of the Note this month, following the May release of the Galaxy S III, the newest version in its bestselling smartphone series.

Jurors in the case relied on emails describing Google’s influence to arrive at their decision. Velvin Hogan, foreman of the nine-member panel, said that jurors went through a “meticulous” process of determining that Samsung infringed Apple’s products. When it came time to determine whether the infringement was “wilful” or intentional, “we knew where we had to go in the evidence,” Hogan said, referring to the emails. The emails included an internal 2010 Samsung message describing how Google asked it to change the design of its products to look less like Apple’s.

The verdict may affect other makers of Android-based devices. Apple has sued other smartphone makers, including HTC, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker.

Two of the patents in the case brought by Apple against Samsung are also part of its case targeting more than a dozen HTC devices before the US International Trade Commission. HTC declined to comment. – (Bloomberg)