Apple vs Samsung: the latest news from the patent battle

Apple and Samsung are waging a legal war around the world, accusing each other of patent violations as they vie for supremacy in the mobile market.

Apple vs Samsung: the latest news from the patent battle

The fight began last year when Apple sued Samsung in a US federal court, accusing the South Korean company of “slavishly” copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued.

The stakes are high, with Samsung facing sales bans and billion-dollar payouts. We track the latest news in the long-running story.

Judge rules out increasing Apple’s damages claim

30 January 2013 – Samsung did not wilfully infringe on Apple patents, a US federal court has ruled, foiling Apple’s attempt to increase the $1.05bn in damages it was awarded last August.

The ruling removes a dark cloud hanging over Samsung, which could have been forced to pay triple the original penalty, in the worst-case scenario.

The latest ruling overrules the jury’s finding that Samsung acted “wilfully” when it violated several of Apple’s patents, a finding that would have formed the basis for tripling the damages.

“To the extent that Apple does address lost downstream sales, Apple discusses only Samsung’s gains and makes no attempt to identify any specific losses Apple has suffered,” US District Court Judge Lucy Koh said.

Apple “not the first” to use round corners on tablets

16 January 2013 – Following decisions in UK courts, a Dutch judge has ruled that Samsung Galaxy tablets don’t infringe Apple’s iPad design.

“We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners and that the origins of Apple’s registered design features can be found in numerous examples,” Samsung said, according to a report from Reuters.

The ruling applied to the corners on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, 8.9 and 7.7.

Judge refuses Apple appeal to extend Samsung ban

18 December 2012 – Apple has been denied a wider sales ban of Samsung products, after a US judge refused to extend a previous ruling to cover 26 older phones.

Judge Lucy Koh denied the appeal, saying Apple was still capable of competing against Samsung despite the August ruling that awarded the iPhone maker more than $1bn after finding its rival infringed its patents.

“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, according to a report from Reuters.

“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,” she added.

Judge Koh also rejected Samsung’s request for a new trial, on the grounds that the jury foreman had been biased toward Apple.

Judge asks for “global peace” between Apple and Samsung

7 December 2012 – A US judge presiding over the Apple and Samsung court battle in California has asked the companies to sort out their differences.

“I think it’s time for global peace ,” Judge Lucy Koh said, according to a report in the Financial Times. “If there is any way this court can facilitate some sort of resolution, I’d like to do that. I think it would be good for consumers and good for the industry.”

Judge Koh presided over the trial that in August saw Samsung ordered to pay $1 billion in damages to its rival. Now, she’s overseeing the appeal, with Samsung trying to reduce those damages to tens of millions of dollars, and Apple looking to add $500 million to the total – as well as tying to block more of its rival’s handsets and tablets. Both sides have now delivered their arguments and are awaiting Judge Koh’s ruling.

Apple tries to add more products to Samsung case

26 November 2012 – Apple has asked a federal court to add six more products to its patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung, including the Galaxy Note II – which has now passed the 5m sales mark.

Apple is also seeking to add the Galaxy S III, the Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Rugby Pro, and the Galaxy S III Mini, to its lawsuit, according to a court filing.

“Apple has acted quickly and diligently to determine that these newly-released products do infringe many of the same claims already asserted by Apple,” the company said in the filing. Samsung representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The case was filed in February, and is separate to the lawsuit by Apple that saw the firm awarded more than $1bn. Samsung denied infringement and filed a cross-complaint alleging that Apple’s iPhone and iPad infringed eight of its patents.

Apple must share HTC deal details with Samsung

22 November 2012 – A judge has ordered Apple to share details of its patent deal with HTC with Samsung.

Apple and HTC came to a ten-year agreement which reportedly requires the handset maker to pay Apple royalties, although exactly how much has not been revealed. Samsung has successfully argued that the case covers some of the same patents under dispute in its court battle with Apple, but the deal details will only shown to lawyers, not made public.

Judge orders Apple to fix Samsung apology

1 November 2012 – Apple has been told off by a UK judge for how it complied with a court order, which forced it to post a message on its website stressing that Samsung didn’t copy its products.

First, Apple added its own text – some from the judge’s ruling, as well as from other European courts that have found in its favour – linking to the document from its main page with tiny font. When ordered to fix the statement, Apple’s lawyers asked two weeks to make the change; it was given 48 hours.

Apple loses UK appeal, could end European battle

18 October 2012 – Apple has lost its appeal against a ruling that cleared rival Samsung of copying its registered designs for tablet computers, in a decision which could end the two firms’ legal dispute on the subject across Europe.

Britain’s Court of Appeal upheld the country’s High Court judgment that, despite some similarities, Samsung’s Galaxy tablet did not infringe Apple’s designs, in part because its products were “not as cool”.

The decision is valid throughout Europe, and will require Apple to run advertisements and a notice on its own website saying Samsung did not copy its designs.

South Korea’s Samsung welcomed the decision saying in a statement: “We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners”. Apple declined to comment on the decision, and can appeal to the Supreme Court.

US court lifts Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales ban

1 October 2012 – A US court removed a temporary sales ban against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 won by Apple in a patent dispute, allowing it to be sold in the United States.

While the Galaxy 10.1 is an older model, the lifting of the ban could still help Samsung in the run-up to the pivotal holiday shopping season.

“We are pleased with the court’s action today, which vindicates our position that there was no infringement of Apple’s design patent and that an injunction was not called for,” Samsung said in a statement.

Separately, Samsung filed a motion against Apple saying the iPhone 5 had infringed on some of the company’s patents.

Apple seeks anti-competition action over Samsung

6 September 2012 – Apple is seeking anti-competition sanctions via the South Korean Fair Trade Commission, saying its rival abused its dominant position in wireless technology.

The FTC is investigating whether Samsung is unfairly competing in the market by abusing its dominance in wireless technology patents. Apple filed its complaints earlier this year, said an FTC official, who is not authorised to talk to the media.

EU regulators are already investigating Samsung over possible breaches of antitrust rules, related to technology patents.

Sales injunction hearing in December

29 August 2012 – Samsung will find out if eight of its products are banned from the US on 6 December, as Judge Lucy Koh set a date for the hearing for a permanent injunction. The delay could take some of the sting out of a sales ban, giving Samsung time to sell remaining stock before the injunction comes into force.

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