Apple Inc.’s request for a permanent sales ban on some of Samsung’s older smartphone sales in the United States was rejected by a US judge, which is a very important setback for the iPhone maker in its worldwide patent battle with the South Korean giant. Lucy Koh, the US District Judge in San Jose, California stated that not enough evidence had been presented by Apple Inc. for showing that its patented features were a prominent driver of consumer demand of smartphones. Thus, she ruled that they didn’t warrant an injunction. For nearly three years, Apple and Samsung have been litigating over different smartphone features that are patented by Apple such as the use of fingers for zooming or pinching the screen and also some of the design elements like the black, flat glass screen of the phone.
The US juries awarded more than $900 million to Apple, but company wasn’t able to sustain a permanent sales ban against its competitor, which would have proven to be a more dangerous threat for the South Korean company as it earned about $7.7 billion in the previous quarter. This ruling is just ahead of another trial that’s scheduled between the two companies and will begin later this month. Newer models of Samsung’s phones are included and Apple would be frustrated to get them banned.
Samsung made a statement saying it was pleased by the ruling. The company said that they agreed with the ruling as a few features of software don’t drive consumer demand for its phones as consumers want the multitude of features they offer. Even though the older models that were targeted by the injunction aren’t sold by Samsung any longer, Apple states that it is important to give such an order to prevent the company from copying the same features in newer products, which aren’t much different.
Meanwhile, Samsung argued that Apple was attempting to target the new models of the company in order to incite uncertainty and fear amongst the carriers and retailers. The Android operating system, belonging to Google Inc., is used in the smartphones manufactured by Samsung. After a widely observed trial in 2012, a Northern California jury had found Samsung guilty of infringing several patents of Apple. After the trial, Apple’s request for a sales ban had been rejected by Koh. However, in November, the judge was ordered by the US Court of Federal Appeals to reconsider the evidence provided by the iPhone maker regarding market demand.
In her recent ruling, Judge Lucy Koh stated that Apple’s consumer survey would likely have inflated the value placed by customers on the patented features involved in the dispute. She ruled that the iPhone maker needed to provide something more significant than the lost sales because of Samsung’s copying action and the evidence provided by the company is unpersuasive so far. Samsung was ordered separately by the judge to pay $930 million in damages, which stem from the decision of the 2012 that found Samsung guilty of patent infringement.