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Apple takes quest for Samsung product ban to appeals court

December 20, 2012|By Chris O'Brien
  • Samsung Galaxy phones and Apple's iPhones lie at the heart of a messy patent dispute.
Samsung Galaxy phones and Apple's iPhones lie at the heart of a messy… (Ahn Young-joon/Associated…)

Apple has decided to appeal a federal judge's ruling that denied the company's request to ban 26 Samsung products. 

In August, a jury ruled that the Samsung products had infringed a handful of Apple patents and ordered the South Korean tech giant to pay $1.05 billion in damages to the maker of the iPhone. 

Apple then sought a potentially more devastating punishment against Samsung by requesting a permanent injunction against those products. While many of the Samsung products in question are older, such a move could be used as leverage in a second lawsuit pending in federal court that involves some of Samsung's most popular current products, including the Galaxy S III smartphone.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh recently ruled that Apple had failed to demonstrate that the features at issue were significant enough to play a big role in persuading consumers to buy one phone or the other. 

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As expected, Apple informed Koh on Thursday that it intends to appeal that decision to 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Koh still has yet to rule on Apple's request to increase the damages verdict by $500 million. Samsung, which was denied by Koh its request for a new trial, is also expected to appeal the case.

As events play out in San Jose, the case continues to become more convoluted. On Wednesday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a preliminary ruling indicating it may invalidate one of Apple's patents, involving its "pinch-to-zoom" feature, that was crucial to its claims against Samsung. While not final, Samsung's legal team has already been touting that decision to bolster its case for a retrial.

But Samsung is facing pressure of its own. This week the company dropped many of its requests for injunctions against some Apple products in European courts. European Union regulators have been expressing unhappiness with the way Samsung was attempting to use its patents against Apple.

That move by Samsung, however, has apparently failed to mollify European Union regulators, who anounced Thursday that they plan to file an antitrust complaint against the company. 

"We are dissatisfied every time that we see the launching of injunctions” involving standard-essential patents," Joaquin Almunia, the EU's antitrust chief, said at a press conference in Brussels, according to Bloomberg. "The injunctions in the Apple-Samsung case were launched; it was not only a threat."


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