Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Samsung drops injunction requests against Apple in Europe, a possible olive branch?

Samsung has brought out the doves. The Korean giant has dropped its requests for injunctions against Apple products in Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and the Netherlands.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the manufacturer, which builds -- among many other items -- Android-based tablets and smartphones which are strong rivals to the iPhone and iPad, said:
Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court. In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard-essential (FRAND) patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice.
The question is why? This sort of move isn't typically made unless there's some tit-for-tat involved. Apple hasn't seemed to be ready to relent on any legal action against Samsung. However, and these injunction requests were based on FRAND patents. FRAND is defined as a "licensing obligation that is often required by standard-setting organizations for members that participate in the standard-setting process."

The move came a day after Samsung received a minor victory in the U.S. While the company was earlier -- four months ago -- slammed by a $1 billion damage decision after a federal jury found it infringed on Apple patents, on Monday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said Monday that Apple had not proven a connection between the patent infringement and a loss of iPhone sales, thus refusing to issue an injunction on Samsung products. Koh was also involved in the earlier case.

Koh said:
While Apple has presented evidence that design, as a general matter, is important to consumers more broadly, Apple simply has not established a sufficient causal nexus between infringement of its design patents and irreparable harm. Though evidence that Samsung attempted to copy certain Apple features may offer some limited support for Apple's theory, it does not establish that those features actually drove consumer demand.


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