[A2k] FT: Apple scores partial victory in patent war

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sat Aug 10 01:36:47 PDT 2013

August 9, 2013 10:55 pm

Apple scores partial victory in patent war

By Tim Bradshaw in San Francisco
Apple  <http://markets.ft.com/tearsheets/performance.asp?s=us:AAPL>has won
another US legal victory against
after the International Trade Commission issued an import ban
the Korean manufacturer’s mobile devices that infringe two of the iPhone
maker’s patents.

However, the ITC did not find that Samsung infringed a broad design patent
covering rectangular smartphones with rounded corners, denying Apple a
potentially more powerful patent win and leaving room for Samsung to use
workarounds to avoid a US sales ban in its more recent devices.

The judgment follows the Obama administration’s move to veto an earlier
Apple’s older iPhones and iPads, in another ITC case between the two
technology giants.

The ITC on Friday issued a final ruling that Samsung infringed two Apple
patents, one for multi-touch graphical user interface that names its late
co-founder Steve Jobs among its inventors, and another that detects when a
set of headphones are removed from their socket on a phone.

“The Commission has determined that the appropriate remedy is a limited
exclusion order prohibiting Samsung from importing certain electronic
digital media devices that infringe” two of Apple’s patents, the ITC said.

These upheld the ITC’s ruling nine months ago but in the same ruling, it
found no violation by Samsung of four further Apple patents, including
another related to the iPhone’s hardware design that also counts Mr Jobs
and Apple’s design chief Sir Jonathan Ive as inventors.

Apple nonetheless seized on the victory, saying in a statement:

“With today’s decision, the ITC has joined courts around the world in
Japan, Korea, Germany, Netherlands and California by standing up for
innovation and rejecting Samsung’s blatant copying of Apple’s products.
Protecting real innovation is what the patent system should be about.”

President Obama has 60 days to review the ruling but if he does not veto
this injunction, Apple is expected to argue to US customs that the disputed
touchscreen patent is infringed by almost all of Samsung’s latest devices,
including its Galaxy S4 flagship smartphone and Galaxy tablets.

Samsung expressed its disappointment about the ITC ban, but noted that
Apple had been “prevented from trying to use its overbroad design patents
to achieve a monopoly on rectangles and rounded corners.”

The company has made design changes to prevent its latest products from
being caught by an ITC ruling.

It said in a statement: “The proper focus for the smartphone industry is
not a global war in the courts, but fair competition in the marketplace.
Samsung will continue to launch many innovative products and we have
already taken measures to ensure that our products will continue to be
available in the United States.”

Earlier on Friday, Apple and Samsung faced off in court over another
patents case. Before the Federal Circuit appeals court in Washington DC,
Apple argued for a permanent injunction against Samsung devices that a jury
in California last year found to infringe its design and utility patents.

Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the proceedings in San Jose last summer,
denied Apple’s request for a sales ban after a jury awarded hundreds of
millions of dollars in damages against Samsung.

Although most of the mobile devices involved in that case are no longer on
sale in the US, a ruling could give Apple greater leverage to block its
rival’s products from sale in another forthcoming patent case between the
two smartphone market leaders, expected to be heard next year.

The Federal Circuit judges did not make a ruling on Friday.

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