Before possible Samsung ban, U.S. consumers snap up S3

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Before possible Samsung ban, U.S. consumers snap up S3

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Although a federal-court jury in California has already issued its verdict in the high-profile patent-infringement suit between Apple and Samsung Electronics, recommending on Friday (Pacific Standard Time) that the Korean company cough up $1.05 billion in damages, the post-trial filings and hearings continue.

On Dec. 6, a court hearing will take place to decide on Apple’s requested injunction that would, if granted, permanently bar eight of Samsung’s mobile gadgets from being sold in the United States, excluding its latest Galaxy S3 smartphone, a written order from U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh showed late Tuesday.

Earlier that day, Apple’s lawyers asked the San Jose court to indefinitely prohibit Samsung from putting those smartphones and tablet PCs on U.S. market shelves, including its much of its popular Galaxy line-up.

“Having considered the scope of Apple’s preliminary injunction request, the additional post-trial motions that the parties have already filed and will file, and the substantial overlap between the analysis required for Apple’s preliminary injunction motion and the parties’ various other post-trial motions, the Court believes consolidation of the briefing and hearing on the post-trial motions is appropriate,” Koh said.

Setting the hearing some three months from now means that Apple’s injunction will have less of an impact on Samsung’s sales in the United States. This is especially the case as Samsung, the world’s top smartphone producer, is already selling its two-month-old Galaxy S3 there and is expected to soon unleash the next version of its Galaxy Note, a smartphone-tablet hybrid that is expected to be 0.5 inches bigger than the S3.

Some media reports said the Galaxy Note 2 would be unveiled at Samsung’s press conference scheduled for late yesterday evening in Berlin at the IFA tech show in Berlin, which opens to the public on Friday. Koh has also fixed Sept. 20 as the date for a hearing on Samsung’s request to revoke a preliminary sales ban on its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

The nine-member jury in the four-week trial that concluded Friday ruled that Samsung violated six of seven patents protecting the products of the U.S. tech behemoth. On one patent they decided Samsung had not violated concerned the design of this gadget, which directly competes with the iPad.

However, the judge had already issued a pretrial order barring Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States.

Meanwhile, according to an article run by Forbes’ online magazine on Tuesday, Trip Chowdhry, the managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research, found that U.S. customers have “rushed” to buy Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S3 since the ruling was announced.

Chowdhry investigated multiple retail outlets, including Costco, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, to get an update on how sales of the Galaxy S3 went this weekend. Two out of three Costco stores were completely sold out of the T-Mobile and AT&T versions of the phone. All five of the AT&T stores that Chowdhry investigated experienced “significant sales” of the device, which has been outselling the iPhone 4S this month. The Samsung handset has also outsold Apple’s smartphone at all five of the Sprint stores and all three of the Verizon stores that Chowdhry examined, the article said.

“While it is unlikely that consumers decided to buy a Galaxy S3 on the verdict alone, (which affects older Samsung devices), it is interesting to see where consumer desire is headed as we approach the release of the iPhone 5,” said Louis Bedigian, a senior tech analyst at Benzinga.com, in the Forbes article.

Industry sources are pointing to Sept. 12 as the date for the unveiling of the next iPhone, although it is not expected in Korea until October at the earliest.

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

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