U.S. court clears Samsung phone, hands Apple setback

Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:13pm EDT
 
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By Diane Bartz and Dan Levine

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court overturned a pretrial sales ban against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy Nexus smartphone, dealing a setback to Apple Inc in its battle against Google Inc's increasingly popular mobile software.

Apple is waging war on several fronts against Google, whose Android software powers many of Samsung's devices.

The ruling on Thursday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is not expected to have an outsized impact on the smartphone market, as the Nexus is an aging product in Samsung's lineup. Apple's stock closed down nearly 2 percent at $628.10.

However, the court's reasoning could make it much harder for companies that sue over patents get competitors' products pulled from the market, said Colleen Chien, a professor at Santa Clara Law school in Silicon Valley.

Such sales injunctions have been a key for companies trying to increase their leverage in courtroom patent fights.

"The Federal Circuit has said, 'Wait a minute,'" Chien said.

Apple declined to comment, while Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Apple scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung in August when a U.S. jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.   Continued...

 
Apple's iPhone (L) and Samsung Galaxy Note are displayed at a shop in Tokyo in this August 31, 2012, file photo. Samsung filed a motion against Apple saying the iPhone 5 had infringed on some of the company's patents, October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files