I’m sure that most of you know everything there is to know about Samsung’s recent blistering legal defeat against Apple, but what you might have not suspected is that it’s not all bad news for Sammy these days in the ongoing monster patent war.
The Koreans have been found guilty of infringing on two Apple design patents covering Samsung’s almost full line of smartphones and have been ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages to the Cupertino-based tech giant. However, when talking about tablets, Sammy might have gotten itself out of trouble for the time being.
It’s true, the “victory” is much smaller than the defeat, but from one particular point of view it might have been more important for Samsung to get a favorable ruling in the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – iPad shenanigan. After all, it is certainly going to be a while until Sammy will be forced to cough up any kind of money to Apple and, for the time being, no Korean smartphone has been slapped with a permanent sales ban.
As you might already know, the jury who found Samsung guilty of copying Apple designs in manufacturing smartphones has decided that the Tab 10.1 doesn’t infringe Apple’s iPad-related design patent (aka the D’889 patent).
That doesn’t necessarily force Judge Lucy Koh to overturn her own decision from back June (which was itself an overturning of a ruling from last December), but Samsung is arguing that Apple can “no longer show a likelihood of success on the merits with respect to this infringement allegation”, which could then mean that the preliminary injunction is now no longer founded on a legal basis of any sort.
In response, Apple will almost certainly not let this go down in Samsung’s favor, although it clearly is a less important battle than the smartphone-related ones. The iPhone makers’ legal team is expected to bring a Rule 50 motion asking “the court to overrule the jury with respect to the infringement of the D’889 patent”. This is not a long shot, FOSS Patents said a few days ago, although Apple might be forced to make its argument very soon (and probably not very well prepared), based on Samsung’s claims that it is suffering irreparable harm with every day that the ban is in place.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is clearly not one of Samsung’s best-sellers these days, but, as we’ve mentioned numerous times in the past, some of these legal battles have turned into simple muscle-flexing, ego-tingling spectacles. It’s obvious that this is not only about money and preserving innovation, but also about who’s the bigger “man”. Not to mention that a ruling in Samsung’s favor on this matter might allow the Koreans to launch other more competitive tablets with similar designs in the future.
So, who here has had enough of these ridiculous quarrels, shifting rulings, temporary bans, motions to stay, etc., etc.? I know I have…