All eyes have been watching the proceedings in San Jose, Calif., where Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has sued Samsung Electronics for infringing Apple patents on smartphones and tablets. Similar lawsuits have been filed in nearly every corner of the world, and one was actually settled earlier today. Well, sort of settled.
A South Korean court has ruled that Apple infringed on two Samsung patents and that Samsung infringed on one Apple patent. The court ordered that both companies must stop selling the infringing devices in South Korea, and both companies were fined. Sounds pretty serious, no?
The fines total around $20,000 for each of the three violations and the stop-ship order applies to products that have been superseded by later models and are not either company’s flagship products. The banned Apple products are the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2, while Samsung was banned from selling the Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Nexus smartphones and the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy 10.1 tablets.
There was one important statement in the ruling, however. The Korean court said that there was no chance that consumers could mistake on company’s phones for the other’s, and that Samsung’s icons do not infringe on any of Apple’s patents.
That part of the ruling is at the heart of the case now being deliberated by a jury in San Jose, and the outcome of the U.S. case is arguably far more important to Apple and Samsung just because of the size of the American market.
At some point, Apple, Samsung, Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and other mobile device makers will come to their senses and agree on some kind of cross-licensing agreement. Until then, the companies’ lawyers will flourish.