Apple can't ban Samsung's U.S. products, judge rules

A U.S. judge denied Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) bid to ban some of Samsung Electronics' mobile devices from sale in the United States, handing Apple a defeat after it received a $1.05 billion jury award against Samsung this summer. Separately, the judge, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, denied Samsung's request for a new trial.

Apple had sought a sales ban on 26 Samsung products it said infringed on its products. However, Koh denied the permanent injunction and said Apple had failed to prove that the continued sale of the Samsung products harmed Apple's sales enough to justify the ban.

"The fact that Apple may have lost customers and downstream sales to Samsung is not enough to justify an injunction," Koh wrote. "Samsung may have cut into Apple's customer base somewhat, but there is no suggestion that Samsung will wipe out Apple's customer base or force Apple out of the business of making smartphones."

The latest twist in the long-running patent battle between the two companies comes as they vie for holiday smartphone sales. Samsung took the title of the world's largest smartphone maker in the third quarter, though Apple is hoping that blockbuster iPhone 5 sales in the fourth quarter put it back on top.

"We are pleased that the judge today denied Apple's move to limit consumer choice and restrict fair competition in the marketplace," a Samsung spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. Samsung said will review the court's denial of a new trial and decide whether to take further action. Apple declined to comment, according to the Journal.

Separately, but on a related note, Samsung said it will withdraw lawsuits seeking to block the sale of Apple products in five European countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands. The South Korean firm has been pressing its case against Apple by using wireless standards patents, while Apple has been using its design patents against Samsung. 

"Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court," the company said in a statement. "In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard-essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice."

Though Apple and HTC have agreed to a far-reaching settlement to end their patent litigation, Samsung has indicated it does not intend to settle.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article

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