Samsung partial victory in patent suit with Apple !

S. Korea SEOUL: A South Korean court on Friday ruled Apple Inc. infringed on two of Samsung Electronics Co.'s technical patents, giving a partial victory on its home turf to the top smartphone maker embroiled in a multi-billion dollar patent war with the iPhone maker.

   In a court ruling, the Seoul Central District Court ruled Apple infringed on two of Samsung's five disputed patents, including those for wireless technology, must compensate Samsung 40 million won (US$35,279) and stop selling patent-infringing products in the country.

   District court judge Bae Jun-hyun ordered Apple to stop selling patent-breaching products, blocking the Cupertino, California-based firm from selling the iPhone 3S, iPhone 4, and iPad 1 and 2 in South Korea. The move does not include the latest products such as the iPhone 4S.

   The court decision covers a lawsuit filed by Samsung in April 2011, which was a counterclaim against Apple's initial patent infringement case lodged in a U.S. district court in the same month, a move that spurred the "patent war of the century" between the world's two biggest smartphone makers fighting for dominance in the US$219 billion global smartphone market.

   Over another patent suit filed by Apple in June claiming Samsung infringed its design and user interface patents, the court ruled that the Samsung violated a bounce-back feature, ordering the South Korean company to pay 25 million won in damages and to ban sales of products including the technology.

   The bounce-back patent, which notifies users they are at the end of an electronic document by bouncing it back, is now replaced by a new technology, leaving the South Korean tech giant largely unscathed from the court ruling.

   The district court, meanwhile, turned down Apple's claim on design patent infringements by Samsung. Bae said while the rounded corners and the large display of the devices are similar, Samsung's products are differentiated with a different center button. The judge also said Samsung's smartphone icons did not infringe Apple's.

   While the court orders are valid in legal terms, the actual implementation is set to happen once the court sends the order to the two companies. The process usually takes one to two weeks.

   The Friday ruling comes ahead of a jury verdict in the U.S. that may come as early as Saturday, Korean time. The case, in which Apple is demanding $2.5 billion in compensation, is deemed more crucial in the wrangling between the two companies in terms of the money and market clout on stake.

   A nine-member jury, consisting of Silicon Valley residents, wrapped up their second day of deliberation on Thursday. While some market watchers expect the jury to deliver their verdict this weekend, others forecast a verdict to come next week due to the complexity of the issue.


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