Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) scored a signfiicant win late Tuesday in its long-running patent battle with Samsung Electronics after a U.S. judge granted the company an injunction banning U.S. sales of the Samsung's GalaxyTab 10.1 tablet.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
In an order, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote that Apple successfully argued that Samsung had violated its design patent for the iPad. "Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products," Koh wrote. "As a patent holder, Apple has a valid right to exclude others from practicing Apple's invention."
The patent describes the front, back and sides of the iPad, and Koh said that Samsung cannot import the GalaxyTab 10.1, or any other product that is "no more than colorably different" and "embodies any design" that infringes Apple's patent, according to court filings.
Samsung said it was disappointed in the ruling. "Apple sought a preliminary injunction of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, based on a single design patent that addressed just one aspect of the product's overall design," Samsung said in a statement. "Should Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted."
Samsung appealed the ruling within hours, and noted that other tablet products will continue to be available. The company said the order will not substantially affect its business, and Samsung has designed around a similar Apple patent in Germany, so it may do that for the U.S. market. U.S. stores with GalaxyTab 10.1 inventory can continue selling the device.
A series of court-ordered meetings in late May between Apple CEO Tim Cook and former Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung to try and resolve a long-simmering patent dispute between the smartphone giants did not produce any agreement. The two companies have been locked in a worldwide patent battle since last year. Apple first sued Samsung in April 2011, claiming that Samsung "slavishly" copied its iPhone design. Samsung countersued and since then the patent battle between the companies has spread to multiple continents, generating dozens of cases in 10 countries.
A trial between the companies, which Koh will preside over, is expected to begin July 30.
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see his Fortune article
- see this FOSS Patents post
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