Samsung Faces U.S. Sales Ban of Products Found Violating Apple Patents
A federal judge in San Jose, Calif., has directed lawyers for Apple to submit a list on Aug. 27 of the current Samsung products that a jury found infringed on Apple patents. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will then decide whether to impose a ban of the sale of those products in the United States.
This next step in the case of Apple vs. Samsung follows a series of verdicts handed down Aug. 24 that Samsung had violated six of seven patents that Apple used as the basis for its $2.5 billion suit against Samsung. While the jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, less than the $2.5 billion Apple was demanding, the verdicts were still considered a stinging blow to the South Korea-based Samsung, which is the top-selling brand in the highly competitive global smartphone market.
Although many of the products found to have infringed Apple patents have already been discontinued, some of the existing products at risk include the Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone, although it was recently succeeded by the Samsung Galaxy S III model.
Before the start of the trial, Koh also granted an injunction sought by Apple to temporarily halt the sale of the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet in the United States and that injunction remains in place.
Estimates are that Apple will include as many as 152 Samsung smartphone and tablet models in the injunction request it is submitting to Koh.
Apple released a statement to several news organizations after the verdict stating that the verdicts send "a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right."
"We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy," said the statement attributed to Apple spokeswoman Katie Cotton. "The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung's copying went far deeper than even we knew."
In fact, during the trial, Apple presented evidence that executives of Google warned Samsung that a prototype new Samsung phone looked too much like the iPhone and asked Samsung to change the design, but that Samsung refused.
"Those [Samsung] executives were bound and determined to cash in on the iPhone's success," said Harold McElhinny, one of the attorneys for Apple, in his closing arguments to the jury.
Samsung responded to the verdicts on Aug. 24 with its own statement: "Today's verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices."
"This is not the final word in this case," the company said, and that is certainly true. Besides the expected appeal of these verdicts, there are scores of lawsuits and counter lawsuits involving Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and other players in the mobile device business in the United States and abroad.
Besides determining the fate of existing Samsung products before Judge Koh, Apple is also expected to ask her to triple the damages-to $3.15 billion-because the jury determined that Samsung's patent violations were "willful." That means that Samsung didn't just violate Apple's patents, but knew they were in violation and did it anyway.
Google's Android mobile operating system powers Samsung smartphones and tablet computers, and Google is in its own legal battle with Apple over patents.
The same day the jury in San Jose issued its verdicts, the U.S. International Trade Commission issued a ruling in Washington, D.C., rejecting three out of four complaints from Google's Motorola Mobility unit that alleged infringement by Apple of four of Motorola's patents. Motorola asked Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender to reconsider the fourth complaint in which he ruled against Motorola.
Motorola filed a second complaint against Apple Aug. 17 with the same commission.