Sun, Oct 09, 2016 - Page 16 News List

AT&T considers stopping Note 7 sales over safety

COPYCAT:Federal judges restored a US$119.6 million verdict in favor of Apple in a patent infringement suit against the South Korean firm over mobile features


A man tries out a Samsung Electronics Co Galaxy Note 7 smartphone at the firm’s headquarters in Seoul on Friday.

Photo: EPA

AT&T Inc is considering stopping all sales of Samsung Electronics Co’s flagship Galaxy Note 7 over concerns about the smartphone’s safety, according to a person familiar with the situation.

A final decision was expected as soon as Friday, said the person, who asked not to be identified, because the deliberations are private.

AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook declined to comment.

Like many competitors, the second-largest US wireless carrier is already offering alternative smartphones to people who return Note 7 devices.

Samsung started replacing the Note 7 last month because of a flaw in its battery that can lead to overheating and pose a burn hazard to customers.

Airlines have banned passengers from using the smartphones on flights, and the evacuation of a Southwest Airlines Co airplane earlier this week was blamed on smoke caused by a replacement device.

AT&T’s move would be a further blow to Samsung. The wireless carrier is the third-biggest customer of the South Korean company, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Samsung is already facing a bill that analysts estimate stretches into billions of US dollars for the recall that it announced last month of 2.5 million Note 7 handsets.

Samsung said in a statement posted on its Web site that it understands the concern of the carriers and consumers over the newly released replacement Note 7 devices and the company will share findings as soon as possible.

Separately, a US appeals court on Friday handed Apple Inc a victory in one of its battles with Samsung, reinstating a US$119.6 million verdict in favor of the iPhone maker for patent infringement.

In the latest twist in a series of patent lawsuits between the smartphone giants, the federal judges ruled 8-3 in a rehearing of the case, reversing a panel of the same court in February.

Apple’s lawsuit contends that Samsung infringed on patents for “slide to unlock” and autocorrection, among others.

Apple had sought about US$2.2 billion at trial, only to have a jury award the California-based company US$119.6 million.

The case is separate from another suit in which Samsung was ordered to pay US$548 million for patent infringement to Apple and whose appeal is set for a hearing next week in the US Supreme Court.

Additional reporting by AFP

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