Judge Denies Apple Attempt To Ban US Samsung Phone Sales

Apple has lost its latest bid to prevent Samsung smartphones from being sold in the US after US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Apple had not presented enough evidence to show that the features it states it has patented were a significant enough draw to boost consumer demand for the products and warrant an injunction.

In her ruling, Judge Koh also entered final judgement regarding the ruling that Samsung would have to pay Apple $930m in fines, following an earlier ruling last December, although Samsung has said it will appeal this decision.

Ongoing battle

Judge Koh wrote that in order to be successful in this case, Apple needs to demonstrate that Samsung’s copying led to far more than a minor loss of sales, saying that the evidence it had provided so far was “unpersuasive”.

She stated that a consumer survey by Apple likely inflated the value that customers place on the three features it believes Samsung copied into 23 of its products, noting that “not a single market research study conducted outside of the context of litigation even asks about the patented features.”

The ruling is the latest in a long-running global battle between the two smartphone heavyweights, symbolising the conflict between users of iOS and Android devices.

This particular battle relates to older-model Samsung smartphones, which are no longer on sale, regarding technologies including the use of fingers to pinch and zoom on the screen, as well as design elements such as the phone’s flat, black glass screen.

Apple argues that such an order is important to prevent Samsung from copying the technologies into future new products that are not measurably different to those involved in this case.

Apple was awarded the $930m in damages last November, when a judge ruled that Samsung had infringed on several technologies found in the iPhone and iPad. The payment was originally set at $1.05bn, however this was lowered when Judge Koh ruled that the jurors had miscalculated when they came up with the figures.

This latest ruling also comes ahead of another patent trial set to begin later this month involving newer Samsung phones, and could frustrate any further attempt by Apple to bar the sales of those models as well.

In a statement, Samsung said it was pleased with Judge Koh’s ruling on the supposed infringements. “We … agree with its observation that a few software features alone don’t drive consumer demand for Samsung products – rather consumers value a multitude of features,” the company said.

Apple declined to comment on the ruling.

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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