Samsung announced today that it will drop lawsuits against Apple for standards-essential patent infringement in Germany, the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands. The South Korea based manufacturer issued a statement to The Verge, which said: ” . . . we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court. In this spirit, 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.”
SiliconANGLE News Desk Editor Kristen Nicole said she was not entirely surprised by Samsung’s move, citing on-going issues between Samsung and the European Union, involving a pending investigation over anti-trust matters. She said, “In some ways, it appears that Samsung may have been backed into a corner. There’s no telling if they did this in their own fruition ‘in the spirit’ as they say, or if this was the result of these on-going investigations.” Kristen added that she would not be surprised if the current cases being dropped re-appear at some point again in the future.
Judge Koh Rules Against Apple in California
The lawsuits between these two companies are still going strong in the U.S. In the latest court activity, Judge Lucy Koh, the federal judge presiding over the Apple v. Samsung litigation in the Northern District of California, just entered two major post-trial orders. The first order denied Apple a permanent injunction against Samsung despite an abundance of infringement findings by a federal jury in August, and the second order denied Samsung a new trial on the grounds of alleged jury misconduct.
The likelihood that Apple will appeal the ruling on injunctive relief is a given. According to Kristen Nicole, this ruling from Judge Koh was unexpected, mainly because of her August ruling, which found Samsung to be in violation of Apple’s patents. This was a huge win for Samsung, she said, in terms of the court finding that Samsung is not hurting Apple’s ability to sell its products, thus preventing a ban on the sale of Samsung products in the U.S.
Basically, Apple would have had to prove that a single feature on a smartphone or tablet, such as the search function, is a driver of sales demand. And not only that, but it’s impossible to prove other intangible aspects of their products they promote, like “fun” and “ease of use” to customers. So would Apple have been better off if they had been granted another billion-dollar damages award? Kristen Nicole disagreed with this, pointing out what Apple really wanted was to force Samsung’s hand. She painted a picture of the possible outcomes, had the sales ban on Samsung products been enforced: “Samsung would’ve had to go back and do some modifications to their devices. It could have hurt some of their market share in the States and really shifted the whole supply chain from manufacturing down to the sales end.” See the whole segment with Kristin Feledy and Kristen Nicole on the Morning NewsDesk Show.