Apple wins round in tablet war vs. Samsung
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Samsung Electronics Co. was dealt a blow Tuesday when a California judge issued an injunction banning sales of the company's Galaxy Tab 10.1 touchscreen tablet at the request of
The preliminary injunction, which bars Samsung (005930) from making or selling the tablet, or any similar device, in the U.S., is the latest twist in the ongoing legal battle between Apple (AAPL) and the Korean technology giant.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote that Apple had made a strong case that Samsung had violated its design patent, which describes the front, back and sides of the iPad.
The injunction is the first Apple has been granted against Samsung in the U.S. A trial is expected on July 30.
Analysts said the ruling was unlikely to have an impact on the roughly 30 legal cases between the companies over design and technology patents in 10 different countries and won't significantly dent Samsung's earnings. Samsung sells a range of Android-powered tablet products in the U.S. but lags far behind market leader Apple.
"Tablets are not Samsung's key product anyway so the latest ruling won't likely have any significant impact on Samsung's earnings," said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Securities. Shares in Samsung were 2.5% higher at midday in Seoul.
Apple and Samsung have been locked in legal battles across the globe since Apple sued Samsung in April last year. Apple has won similar injunctions in other jurisdictions, most notably in Australia and Germany, forcing Samsung to redesign its device for those markets.
The court said that Samsung has also been banned from importing the device, or any other product that is "no more than colorably different" and "embodies any design" that infringes Apple's patent, into the country, according to court filings.
"Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products," Judge Koh wrote in the order. "As a patent holder, Apple has a valid right to exclude others from practicing Apple's invention."
Samsung said it was disappointed with the court's decision, and that it will ultimately reduce the availability of "superior technological features to consumers" in the U.S. "We will continue to take all available measures, including legal action, to ensure continued consumer access to our innovative products," the company said in its statement, adding that other Galaxy Tab products will continue to be available.
Apple reiterated its earlier statements that Samsung's devices were too similar to the iPhone and iPad tablet. "This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas," a spokeswoman said.
The ban will go into effect after Apple delivers a $2.6 million bond, which is expected to cover damages Samsung would suffer if the court later finds the injunction was issued incorrectly.
The ruling comes less than a week after Apple was dealt a blow in a case against