Apple, Samsung spar over potential U.S. ban on smartphone sales

SAN JOSE, California Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:52pm EST

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with Apple and Samsung logos as he poses with a Samsung Galaxy S4 in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with Apple and Samsung logos as he poses with a Samsung Galaxy S4 in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

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SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - Samsung sought to defeat Apple's bid for a permanent sales ban against some Samsung smartphones, arguing in court on Thursday that Apple's request was an attempt to instill fear among telecom carriers and retailers that carry Samsung's products.

At a hearing in federal court in San Jose, California, Samsung attorney Kathleen Sullivan told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh that the injunction would give the iPhone maker an opening to come back to court quickly and argue that newer Samsung products should also be banned.

"An injunction would create fear and uncertainty for the carriers and retailers with whom Samsung has very important customer relationships," Sullivan said.

Apple attorney William Lee said that a jury has already found that nearly two dozen phones infringed Apple patents, and that Apple Inc has lost sales to a direct competitor.

"The natural, inexorable result is an injunction," Lee said.

Apple's request for the permanent injunction stems from the companies' legal fight over various smartphone features patented by Apple, such as the use of fingers to pinch and zoom on the screen and design elements such as the phone's flat, black glass screen. Apple has won U.S. jury verdicts against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd totaling about $930 million.

Koh had previously rejected such a sales ban, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered her to reconsider in November.

Even though Samsung no longer sells the older-model phones targeted by the injunction request, Apple has argued in court documents that such an order is important to prevent Samsung from future copying with new products "not more colorably different" than the defunct models.

Sullivan, the Samsung lawyer, argued that the injunction would allow Apple seek other bans on new products on a much faster timeline than through traditional patent litigation, which can take years.

Koh did not say when she would rule on the request.

The chief executives for Apple and Samsung have agreed to a mediation session, which will take place by February 19. The two companies are scheduled to begin another trial in San Jose in March over a separate batch of patents that involve Apple's Siri search technology.

Samsung's phones use the Android operating system, developed by Google. Samsung and Google announced a global patent licensing deal this week.

The case in US District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc vs. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, 11-1846.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Amanda Kwan)

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Comments (3)
seafloor wrote:
I do not understand. The mentioned patents were all available in the German Siemens smartphones more than 15 years ago. Since the us patent office doesn’t prove the state of the art for patent applications maybe apple rides on an empty shell.

Jan 30, 2014 10:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
learntoforget wrote:
I wish Apple would simply compete in the marketplace rather then try to compete in the courtroom, also. Apple? More like sour grapes if you ask me.

Jan 31, 2014 6:42am EST  --  Report as abuse
Andy_Sturm wrote:
@learntoforget: Apple clearly competes very well in the marketplace. It’s courtroom battles are an effort to ensure that its competitors compete fairly.

Jan 31, 2014 3:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

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