Apple seeks order to block some Samsung phones


Sun, May 25, 2014 - Page 13

Apple Inc, following a jury verdict that Samsung Electronics Co infringed three of its patents, is seeking a US sales ban on some older models of the South Korean company’s smartphones.

Apple, which on May 2 won US$120 million of the US$2.2 billion it sought, identified nine devices it wants barred in a filing on Friday with US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.

Winning a ban may prove difficult for Apple because Koh, who also presided over the companies’ first US trial in 2012, twice rejected the iPhone maker’s request in that case, legal experts have said.

This time, Samsung can also seek a ban because the jury concluded that Apple infringed one of its patents. Apple’s bid “seems like a hard sell, given that it failed to achieve an injunction in the last trial with significant design patent infringement and similar feature patent infringement,” Villanova University law professor Michael Risch said.

Apple, which has said that a sales ban is more important than monetary damages, has been waging legal battles with Samsung since 2011 across four continents.

The world’s top two smartphone makers each seek to dominate a market that was valued at US$338.2 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Samsung’s share of global smartphone shipments in the first quarter of this year fell to about 31 percent from 32 percent a year earlier, according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple’s share fell to about 15 percent from almost 18 percent in the same period, while Chinese producers such as Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and Xiaomi Corp (小米) gained in emerging markets with cheaper, feature-packed devices.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, declined to comment on Apple’s filing.

Apple announced on Saturday last week that it was settling litigation involving Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility handset unit. That agreement, patent experts said, might only intensify its feud with Samsung, which uses Google’s Android operating system to power its phones.

The nine devices targeted by Cupertino, California-based Apple for a US sales ban include the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Galaxy S3 and Stratosphere.

Apple won infringement findings on three of its five patents at issue in the case, which revolved around whether Samsung used Android features that copied the iPhone maker’s technology. Apple claimed 10 Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S3, infringe five of its patents. The patents cover a range of user-interface designs for the iOS software that powers iPhones and iPads.

Samsung’s newest smartphones, the Galaxy S4 and S5, were not at stake in the trial. Samsung is counting on the Galaxy S5, which went on sale on March 27 in South Korea, as its marquee device to compete with Apple for high-end shoppers and with Chinese producers that target budget buyers.