Samsung will be breathing a huge sigh relief today as US District Court judge Lucy Koh on Monday rejected Apple’s request for a permanent sales ban on 26 of its mobile devices. This comes despite a California jury finding in Apple’s favor on a number of patent infringements at a trial in August.
However, it wasn’t all good news for the Korean tech giant, as its request for a retrial based on claims of jury misconduct during the August hearing was thrown out by Judge Koh, which means Samsung will still have to pay $1.05 billion in damages to Apple.
Monday’s post-trial orders are the latest chapter in the long-running patent-related battle between the two companies as they vie for supremacy in the cut-throat mobile device market.
Koh said in the ruling that the iPhone maker’s argument that it had suffered revenue loss because of Samsung’s violation of a number of utility and design patents was not strong enough to justify the imposition of a sales ban.
“The phones at issue in this case contain a broad range of features, only a small fraction of which are covered by Apple’s patents,” Koh wrote in her ruling, adding, “Though Apple does have some interest in retaining certain features as exclusive to Apple, it does not follow that entire products must be forever banned from the market because they incorporate, among their myriad features, a few narrow protected functions.”
Patent expert Florian Mueller of Foss Patents was surprised by Koh’s sweeping decision considering the large number of infringement findings, describing it as a possible first for the US legal system.
“It may be unprecedented in the legal history of the United States for an injunction motion to be denied across the board despite such a large number of infringement findings (roughly half a dozen) by a jury and, especially, in light of the competitive situation between the two as well as the jury’s findings of willful infringement,” Mueller wrote on his blog.
He added that Apple is almost certain to appeal Monday’s ruling, meaning both companies will return to court some time next year. Judge Koh has repeatedly asked the two tech giants to try to resolve their patent-infringement issues out of court, but as long as each company believes it can win in the courts over the long term, this is highly unlikely to happen.