U.S. court blocks sale of Galaxy Nexus

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U.S. court blocks sale of Galaxy Nexus

A U.S. court last Friday ordered an injunction blocking the sale of Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the United States, marking the Korean tech king’s second defeat in just one week against Apple.

The court ruled the Galaxy Nexus smartphone “likely” infringes upon all four of the patents Apple included in the preliminary injunction motion it filed in February.

Samsung filed its defense in April in response to the motion.

Apple accuses the Galaxy Nexus of infringing on patents including unified search, or a computerized personal assistant called “Siri” implemented in the iPhone 4S, data tapping, slide to unlock and auto correct features.

“Although Samsung will necessarily be harmed by being forced to withdraw its product from the market before the merits can be determined after a full trial, the harm faced by Apple absent an injunction is greater,” Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in her ruling. “Apple’s interest in enforcing its patent rights is particularly strong because it has presented a strong case on the merits.”

Following the ruling, the Korean tech bellwether said in an e-mailed statement, “Samsung is disappointed, as the court’s ruling will restrict American consumer choice in the smartphone market .?.?. We will take all available measures, including legal action, to ensure the Galaxy Nexus remains available to consumers,” it said.

Samsung added the company is working closely with Google to resolve the matter.

The judge ordered Apple to post a $95.6 million bond - the estimated amount of damage sustained by Samsung from the temporary sales ban - in the event the California-based firm loses to Samsung in a trial currently scheduled for March 2014. The sales ban in the U.S. will go into effect instantly after Apple posts the bond with the court, which will then secure payment of damages to Samsung should the Korean company win the case, reversing the Friday ruling.

The Android-based smartphone, released in the U.S. in December last year, is a collaborative creation between Samsung and Google.

That means the ruling is seen as a blow not only to Samsung but also to its U.S. partner.

“As far as design issues are concerned, Samsung has no one to blame but itself, and on the software side, Google has most, if not all, of the responsibility,” Florian Mueller, a German intellectual property analyst, wrote on his blog yesterday.

On June 26, three days before the latest ruling, the same judge, who is Korean-American, ordered barring of the sale of Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet PC in a patent and trademark-infringement lawsuit, saying that Apple had presented “a strong case” for the injunction.

Samsung and Apple, the two biggest producers of smartphones, have accused each other of copying designs and technology and are fighting patent battles across four continents including the U.S. and Europe to retain their dominance in the $219 billion global smartphone market.

By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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