Apple Inc. (AAPL) is again seeking to ban sales in the U.S. of Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) products that were at issue in the companies’ first patent trial in California and are now no longer on the market.
The iPhone-maker yesterday asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose to bar sales of more than 20 smartphones and tablets, such as the Galaxy S 4G and Galaxy Tab 10.1, that a jury last year found to infringe Apple’s patents. While Koh rejected Apple’s bid for a sales ban on the infringing Samsung devices after the 2012 verdict, a federal appeals court on Nov. 18 cleared the way for the iPhone maker to pursue an injunction targeting some of its rival’s products.
“Samsung’s claim that it has discontinued selling the particular models found to infringe or design around Apple’s patents in no way diminishes Apple’s need for injunctive relief,” Apple argued in a court filing. “Because Samsung frequently brings new products to market, an injunction is important to providing Apple the relief it needs to combat any future infringement by Samsung through products not more than colorably different from those already found to infringe.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said that Apple could tailor its request to focus on infringement of patents covering smartphone features, such as multitouch technology, that were at issue in the 2012 trial. The company can’t block Samsung products for infringing patented designs, according to the opinion.
The world’s top two smartphone makers have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees on claims of copying each other’s features in a global battle to dominate the market. Apple, which initiated the legal fight in 2011, had 13 percent market share in the third quarter of this year, while Samsung had 31 percent, according to IDC, a research firm based in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, declined to comment on Apple’s request.
Last month, Apple won more than $290 million from Samsung in a do-over damages trial stemming from the same case in which Apple is seeking its sales ban request. A jury restored most of the $410.5 million Koh cut from the $1.05 billion 2012 verdict after finding it was flawed because jurors in the first trial miscalculated the period that the infringement occurred. Total damages owed by Samsung now stand at $930 million.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, has another case against Samsung going to trial in March over newer models, including Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Should Koh, who is presiding over the case, impose a ban on the older models, Apple could argue that newer phones are the same products with new names.
The lower court case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose). The appeals court case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 13-1129, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).
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