In a sign of a possible detente in the patent war between the two technology giants — or an assessment by one that the other is much less of a threat to sales — Samsung announced Tuesday morning that it would withdraw a lawsuit in Europe that sought to ban sales of Apple’s products in the market.
“Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court,” Samsung said in a statement. “Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice.”
This announcement comes a day after a U.S judge — the same that presided over this summer’s Apple v. Samsung trial — denied Apple’s request for a ban on the sale of Samsung smartphones in the U.S.
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,” U.S District Judge Koh wrote. “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.”
While Apple has had some success in weaponizing patents and using lawfare to garner a business advantage, these two decisions may mark a turning tide for the company.
All the while demands for its products is slackening: Analysts are reporting that Asia based suppliers are seeing supply chain orders reduced, while the iPhone 5 had a soft launch in China.
Stateside, Wal-Mart is selling Apple products at a discount. According to its online listing, an iPhone 5 (with a contract) now goes for $127 (compared to AT&T’s $199) while an iPhone 4S is on sale for $47 (compared to the usual $99).