In an unexpected turn of events a judge in California has sided with Apple in its ongoing patent war against Samsung, granting an injunction to block the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 Tablet in the United States.
The ruling, handed down late Tuesday in San Jose by U.S. District Court judge Lucy Koh, prohibits Samsung from selling in the United States any tablet that is “no more than colorably different from this specified product and embodies any design contained in U.S. Design Patent No. D504,889.”
Judge Koh had previously denied Apple’s request for an injunction, however a federal appeals court overturned this ruling.
This patent refers to the ornamental design of the device. Below are two excerpts of the patent in question from the U.S Patent Office’s website:
The court has ruled that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is substantially similar “in the eyes of the ordinary observer” to the patent shown above that Apple holds rights to.
This ruling will take effect once Apple posts a $2.6 million bond to cover any damages sustained by Samsung if this ruling is later overturned.
“Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products,” Judge Koh wrote in her Tuesday ruling. “While Samsung will certainly suffer lost sales from the issuance of an injunction, the hardship to Apple of having to directly compete with Samsung’s infringing products outweighs Samsung’s harm in light of the previous findings by the Court.”
In response to the ruling, Apple reiterated its earlier statements that Samsung’s devices violated its trade dress: “This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”
This new ban will not affect the recently released Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.
“Apple sought a preliminary injunction of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, based on a single design patent that addressed just one aspect of the product’s overall design,” Samsung said in a statement in response to the ruling. “Should Apple continue to make legal claims based on such a generic design patent, design innovation and progress in the industry could be restricted.”
Apple’s patent war against Samsung has intensified now that Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.
“This is an extension of their fight in the smartphone space,” Kim Young Chan, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp., told Bloomberg. “If you look at precedents, different cases yielded different rulings. As long as smartphones aren’t blocked, Samsung’s fundamentals will stay intact.”
Samsung is intending to appeal this case in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
More to come…