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Samsung wins court order denying sales ban

Samsung Electronics Co. defeated Apple Inc.’s bid for a court order barring U.S. sales of some Samsung smartphones that were found to infringe Apple patents, though none of the products are still on the market.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., Thursday rejected Apple’s request to ban more than 20 Samsung smartphones and tablets at issue in the companies’ first U.S. patent trial in 2012. The order comes less than four weeks before the companies’ next patent trial, scheduled for March 31, which covers newer devices.

In a final judgment, Koh also affirmed a previously determined penalty against Samsung for $929.7 million and ordered the case closed.

“Apple has not met its burden of proving the requisite causal nexus to establish irreparable harm,” Koh wrote in yesterday’s ruling. Apple failed to prove that touchscreen software features “drive consumer demand for Samsung’s products,” and “it would be inequitable to enjoin Samsung’s products from U.S. markets,” the judge said.

In their battle to dominate the worldwide smartphone market, Samsung and Apple have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees claiming each copied features of the other’s products since Apple initiated the fight in 2011.

Market share

Samsung accounted for 28.8 percent of global smartphone shipments in the three months ended Dec. 31, down from 29.1 percent a year earlier, Framingham, Mass.-based market researcher IDC said in a Jan. 27 statement. Apple was second with 17.9 percent, IDC said.

Apple argued in court filings that while the devices it targeted for the ban are no longer sold in the U.S., an injunction was required to combat future patent infringement by Samsung in products that are “not more than colorably different” from those found to have copied Apple’s technology.

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, urged Koh in January to deny the ban on the ground that Apple’s real aim was to make an “end run” around any injunction by pushing for another order targeting newer products by the Galaxy maker that haven’t been proven to infringe its rival’s patents.

While Koh rejected Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple’s bid for a sales ban on the infringing Samsung devices after the 2012 jury verdict, a federal appeals court in November cleared the way for the iPhone maker to pursue an injunction covering some products.

Samsung contended that an injunction would create “fear and uncertainty” for carriers and retailers about what Samsung products they could legally offer.

Adam Yates, a Samsung spokesman, and Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return voice and e-mail messages seeking comment on the ruling.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).