Apple, Samsung tie in Korea verdict
ReutersComparisons between the Samsung Tablet and Apple's iPad are presented in evidence at the two tech majors' patents trial in San Jose, Calif.
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- A South Korean court hearing mutual patent lawsuits between
The Seoul Central District Court ordered both companies to halt sales of electronic products that infringe patents in South Korea.
It also ordered Apple to pay a nominal 20 million won ($17,650) for each of its patent violations, while Samsung was ordered to compensate Apple with 25 million won.
On balance, analysts said they were surprised by the scale of the sales ban.
Although the patent-infringement issues don't apply to either Samsung or Apple's latest products, they affect several devices launched in the last two to three years, such as Apple's iPhone 4, according to Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Mark Newman in Hong Kong.
There was no clear winner from the court's ruling, he said, calling it a "mixed bag" that would penalize both companies in certain respects.
U.S. a 'much bigger deal'
Newman said attention will now shift to the more closely watched jury decision in the pair's U.S. lawsuits that could have major implications for smartphone and tablet sales in the world's largest economy.
"Any kind of ban in the U.S. is a much bigger deal for both companies," Newman said.
But not everyone saw the verdicts as a wash, with Seoul-based technology analyst Kevin Lim saying that Samsung had come out in better shape.
"I think it was a kind of win for Samsung," Lim said.
Samsung smartphones and tablets affected by the sales ban are no longer commercially viable, according to Lim, who says Apple stands to lose more from the ban affecting sales of its iPhone 4.
Additional Apple products affected by the sales ban include the iPhone 3GS, and its tablets the iPad and iPad 2, according to reports.
Products by Samsung in the ban reportedly include its smartphone Galaxy SI and SII and its Galaxy Tab and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet PCs
Apple also suffered a setback in its claim that Samsung copied the industrial design of some of its products. In coming to its decision, the court acknowledged the products were similar but noted that such "similarities had been documented in previous products," a judge was cited as saying by Reuters.
Newman said the South Korea court's decision was in line with the logic of an earlier ruling rendered by a U.K. court that dismissed Apple's claim that Samsung's Galaxy Tab was copied.
Seen from a longer-term perspective, "this whole war is to come to nothing. … The only outcome is in huge legal fees and in hurting each other's brand," he said.
Newman said Apple might have more at stake in the U.S. decision, possibly to be announced later in the day, calling it the iPhone-maker's "last chance to get a favorable [patent] ruling."
Samsung's Seoul-listed shares traded lower Friday, eventually ending down 0.9%, but outperforming a 1.2% drop in the benchmark Kospi index (SEU) .