Samsung refuses to accept jury ruling lying down

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Samsung refuses to accept jury ruling lying down

Samsung Electronics vowed to keep pursuing efforts to prove it has not violated the intellectual properties of its U.S. rival Apple yesterday, the first working day after the patent ruling in the U.S. on Friday that is being seen as a sweeping victory for Apple.

“Courts in Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Korea have ruled that we have not copied the designs of Apple and some have even concluded Apple has violated our wireless technology patents,” the top electronics maker said in an internal memo. “As the judge’s final verdict is still ahead of us, and many trials remain in the pipeline, we will do our best to have our arguments accepted.”

This is the first time Samsung has issued an official statement specifically for its workers concerning the patent battle - a move seen as aimed at rallying the troops. The jury at the San Jose, California, court on Friday awarded Apple damages to the tune of $1.05 billion. The judge has yet to confirm the amount of damages - she can still raise or lower the sum - and the ruling could also lead to a permanent sales ban on Samsung’s mobile devices in the United States.

“We firmly believe that markets and consumers will support the company that pursues not lawsuits but innovation,” Samsung continued.

The memo also explained what spurred it to countersue the iPhone maker. “Given that Apple is one of our key client companies, we tried to settle the issue through negotiations, rather than a lawsuit, but as Apple launched the suit, we had no choice but to countersue as a defensive measure.”

The two global tech titans are foes and business partners at the same time, as Samsung is also the sole supplier of Apple-designed chips powering its iPhones and iPads.
The memo from Samsung, however, seems to contradict what Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a message to employees after the verdict. “We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work,” it reads.

More than three weeks remain before U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh holds a hearing on Apple’s request for a permanent ban on Samsung’s mobile gadgets, and the Korean company requested on Sunday that Koh revoke a ban on its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, which competes with the iPad for customers.

The nine-member jury ruled that Samsung violated six of seven Apple patents. The remaining one related to the design of the iPad. But Koh had already issued a pretrial order prohibiting Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the U.S., agreeing that the Korean-designed tablet copied Apple’s.

“[In light of the jury’s reckoning], there is no proper basis for maintaining the injunction [on the tablet],” wrote Samsung’s attorneys.

Korea’s biggest-cap firm has managed to circumnavigate other sales bans by modifying some features of its mobile devices. It changed the frame of one Galaxy Tab model and the location of its speakers last year after Apple won an injunction blocking its sale in Germany.

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


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