Apple and Samsung are the market leaders in a growing smartphone industry. The intense competition between rivals has led to numerous litigation battles regarding patent infringement. Samsung defeated Apple today in their most recent court date judged by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Koh has acted like a parent punishing her two bickering children since the intellectual property cases started in 2012.
The federal judge in San Jose, California rejected Apple’s request to ban 23 older Samsung devices. The 23 devices are no longer sold in the U.S. market.
The premise for Apple’s original lawsuit stemming from 2012 is the infringement of touchscreen features that are associated with iPhones and iPads. Apple is suing the South Korean company over a handful of patented features that devise a fraction of the 250,000 patent features on smartphones.
Koh’s judicious reasoning in favor of Samsung is that there was not enough evidence presented by Apple to convince her that Apple’s patented features drove consumer demand.
This was a second time Koh ruled against Apple on the issue regarding consumer driven demand. A federal appeals court ordered her to rehear the case with lower evidential standards for driven demand. She originally decided that Samsung’s patent infringement did not cause Apple irreparable harm and affirmed that opinion today.
Samsung won the judicial battle this round, but the patent technology war is a marathon. In a marathon stamina is required to finish the race, but in court cash is king and both technology giants have banks of currency. Apple and Samsung have a $473.67 billion and $184.57 billion market caps. The next trial is set for Mar. 31 and involves patent infringement on Samsung’s newer smart phone, the Galaxy S4.
The litigation dates back to 2012. Koh oversaw two separate blockbuster jury verdicts that awarded Apple $929.7 million on infringement damages.
Apple has argued that a sales ban is more important than monetary fines. The Cupertino, California company complains that the legal system cannot contend with the evolutional pace of smartphone technology. Samsung releases smartphones with infringed technology faster than courts can address the cases, according to Apple.
The other side of the coin is Samsung claiming that Apple’s patents are invalid and that Apple has also used Samsung’s technology. Samsung plans on appealing the “erroneous calculation” made by Koh regarding monetary damages in previous rulings.
Koh urges the technology companies to reach a settlement before the Mar. 31 trial. The two companies told Koh that they are currently negotiating through an unidentified mediator. If past mediator sessions are a future indication than Koh should prepare for the next court date. Past mediator sessions have ended in elusive agreement. Lawyers for Samsung and Apple reported to Koh Feb. 21 that a full-day mediator session in the first week of February was not reached between Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Samsung mobile Chief Shin Jong-Kyun.
Apple was defeated by Samsung involving the smartphone ban this round, but the Cupertino company will try again next month.
Opinion by Niles Olson