Judge Rules No Sales Ban On Samsung Galaxy Smartphones

By Khurram Aziz | Dec 18, 2012 03:01 PM EST

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In a dramatic turnaround a U.S. judge had denied a sales ban on Samsung's smartphones months after the Cupertino company won a $1.05 billion jury verdict, which ruled that the South Korean company infringed its patents.

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Judge Lucky Koh of the US District Court in California said the ban was unwarranted because only a small number of Apple patents were infringed and Samsung had not made a significant dent in Apple's sales.

"The phones at issue in this case contain a broad range of features, only a small fraction of which are covered by Apple's patents," Koh said, per a Forbes report. She added that "though Apple does have some interest in retaining certain features as exclusive to Apple it does not follow that entire products must be forever banned from the market because they incorporate, among their myriad features, a few narrow protected functions."

However, the ruling wasn't all good news for Samsung, as the judge denied Apple's biggest rival a request to quash the earlier damages verdict due to juror misconduct. Samsung had alleged that jury foreman Velvin Hogan was biased against the company because he was involved in a case in the 1990s against his former employer, Seagate, which is now partially owned by Samsung - a fact Hogan failed to disclose.

However, Koh ruled that Samsung had effectively waived its right to complain about Hogan because it had carried out pre-trial interviews with him and had not raised the matter then.

"Parties [in the trial] waive their right to challenge the jury's impartiality if they are aware of the evidence giving rise to the motion for a new trial or fail to exercise reasonable diligence in discovering that evidence," said Koh.

The rulings mean that the two smartphone giants will both be dissatisfied with the outcome of the post-trial hearing - though Samsung will have more cause to celebrate because its infringement will only cost it in monetary and not sales terms.

The case in the U.S. is just one of many the two companies have against each other in courts around the world.

Apple was an early innovator in the field of smartphones and tablets and in 2010 it began suing rivals using Google's Android operating system for patent infringement, alleging these devices directly copied its iPhone and iPad. Samsung has since gone on to outstrip Apple as the biggest manufacturer in this sector in the world, leaving the latter a distant second.

Apple had wanted sales bans on 26 Samsung devices following the verdict. Both Samsung and Apple are likely to appeal Koh's post-trial decisions.

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