Samsung Says Game Not Over, Korean Analysts Predict Bounceback
By Yewon Kang
After Friday’s sweeping victory by Apple in the months-long U.S. patent battle against Samsung, South Korea’s largest electronics company said in a blog post Monday that its initial intent was to settle with the iPhone maker instead of going to court.
The Suwon-based company said the judge’s final ruling remains and it will do its “utmost” until its argument is accepted.
“We trust that consumers and the market will side with those who prioritize innovation over litigation, and we will prove this beyond doubt,” said the company’s blog post.
The nine-person jury at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in San Jose, sided with Apple on almost every patent infringement claim against Samsung and awarded more than $1 billion in damages. Samsung’s countersuit against the Cupertino-based company charging violation of its wireless-related patents was thrown out.
As Apple lawyers are expecting to increase the damage claims, Samsung is facing possible injunctions against sales of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets in the U.S. market including its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S III.
“Samsung’s priority is to stop the injunction [against] Galaxy S III sales in the U.S. and to make sure [Apple’s] design patents won’t have an impact against the next Galaxy S4 that’s scheduled for early next year,” said Sun Tae Lee, an analyst with NH Securities and Investment, in Seoul. It has already requested removal of the temporary injunction against selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the U.S.
Lee said the financial outlook for Samsung is not worrisome and it has room to adjust its design and apply a new user interface. For instance, the Korean device maker has already removed the “bounce-back” function and the rounded corners on the Galaxy S III.
In addition, the fact that Samsung is a key component supplier of Apple’s will play a positive role when the two giants make deals in the future, Lee added.
Friday saw two divergent court results for the companies. In the U.S., Samsung was found to have violated six Apple patents including the design and user interface elements of the iPhone and iPad, while all five of Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple on its wireless technology were knocked down. In contrast, a court in Seoul improved Samsung’s hand with a split verdict: It found Apple in violation of two of the Korean company’s utility patents while rejecting Apple’s central argument that the Korean giant copied the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad.
The U.S. jury’s rejection of Samsung’ wireless patent claim was “no surprise,” said Kyung Sin Park, a law professor at Korea University. Courts in European countries including France, Italy and the Netherlands have already reached similar decisions based on agreements that these patents be licensed on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
Park added that the opposite verdict of the two countries on design patent infringement reflects different legal cultures and custom.
The latest battle between Apple and Samsung has implications not just for design and technology competition but for the fight over platform dominance between iOS and Android, said Jae Yeon Kim, a Seoul-based tech blogger and an author of “Being Social Web.” The U.S. verdict has hurt the Android platform users in terms of “trust” in the service and security due to the increased possibility of lawsuits by Apple, he said.
But Kim took a negative view of Apple gaining an edge “not by market but by regulation.”
“In the long run, this is not a wise way to compensate creativity. The way we can ensure innovation and competition is giving more freedom to choose and freedom to create, not the other way around,” he said.
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