Apple targets eight devices in requested U.S. ban

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Apple targets eight devices in requested U.S. ban

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Bolstered by Friday’s (Pacific Standard Time) jury verdict in its favor, Apple asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Monday to ban U.S. sales of eight of Samsung Electronics’ mobile devices. The targeted gadgets are the Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S2 (AT&T), Galaxy S2 (T-Mobile), Galaxy S2 Skyrocket and Droid Charge.

The nine jurors ruled that 28 Samsung gadgets infringe on Apple’s patents, but Apple seems to have focused more on recent models. The Galaxy Prevail was the top-seller on the list from the middle of 2010 to recently, according to data submitted by Samsung in a court filing. The list does not include the company’s latest smartphones, such as the Galaxy S3, which it released in June, or the larger Galaxy Note. A court hearing on the request is scheduled for Sept. 20.

“We will take all necessary measures to ensure the [continued] availability of our products in the U.S. market,” said a Samsung spokesman in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The United States accounted for about 12 percent of Samsung’s smartphone sales in the April-June period.

Following a four-week trial at a court in San Jose, California, the jury ruled that Samsung violated six of seven Apple patents and demanded the Korean tech king pay $1.05 billion to its U.S. rival.

On Monday, Samsung asked Koh to suspend her final judgment on the case until she rules on the company’s filings challenging the jury’s verdict.

A sales ban cannot take effect in lieu of her decision. The electronics company also said it will appeal should Koh accept the jurors’ verdict. Under federal law, Koh can triple the amount of damages currently requested.

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Meanwhile, speculation is brewing that Apple will eventually take on Google as Android is now the world’s most popular smartphone platform. It accounts for 64.1 percent of the global market, while Apple’s iOS makes up 18.8 percent.

Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, argues that Apple is using Samsung, a foreign company, to deliver a warning to Google. In a contribution to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, he wrote that Apple sued Samsung as “Apple knows that suing a foreign giant will go down a lot better than suing a Silicon Valley neighbor.

“Suing Google would divide Apple’s support and tarnish the company’s image. So Apple sued a foreign company to send a message to Google,” he added.

It is no secret that Apple considers Google its key competitor. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs loathed the top search engine operator, largely based on his belief that it copied key iPhone features. He famously told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he would spend “every penny” in Apple’s coffers to combat Google’s software.

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this,” he told Isaacson.

Google, which has remained tight-lipped over the course of the trial, took the first step to defend itself on Monday and distance itself from the verdict against Samsung. The California-based firm said in a statement that Apple’s patent claims “don’t relate to the core Android” software used in mobile devices. Samsung uses the free Android platform for the majority of its smartphones, and has vaulted past former market leader Nokia to become the world’s top smartphone producer. Google also gained strength by acquiring another Android partner, Motorola Mobility, in May.

“The Court of Appeal will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims,” Google said. “Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the U.S. Patent Office.”

However, the claim runs counter to remarks made by Velvin Hogan, the foreman of the nine-member jury. He said in an interview after the verdict that an internal message issued by Samsung in 2010 showed how Google urged its Korean partner to change the design of its products to look less like Apple’s. He described this as crucial evidence showing Samsung’s “willful” violation of Apple’s intellectual property.

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

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