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December 12, 2013

Samsung loses patent ruling vs. Apple in Korea

Samsung received a major blow in its legal battle against Apple. (Yonhap)

Samsung received a major blow in its legal battle against Apple. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Company suffered a legal defeat against Apple Inc. on its home turf after a local court ruled that its archrival did not violate its patents.

The Seoul Central District Court on Thursday ruled that Apple did not infringe three patents held by Samsung, dealing a further blow to the South Korean tech giant that has been in a multi-billion dollar patent war in the courts of more than 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.

In March of last year, Samsung filed a lawsuit against Apple claiming that Apple’s devices, such as the iPhone 4S, copied three of its patents, including one related to text message display technology. Samsung claimed 100 million won (US$94,840) in damages.

The court said two of three patented technologies by Samsung did not show technical “advancement” and the other one was not adopted by Apple.

Samsung, disappointed with the court ruling, said it will review all options possible and take legal steps to secure and protect its patented technologies, implying that it would appeal the case.

The latest court ruling is the second of its kind on Samsung’s home turf. In August last year, the local court ruled that Apple infringed two of Samsung’s patents, while Samsung also violated a bounce-back feature-related patent held by Apple. Both firms appealed the court’s decision.

Samsung is in a disadvantageous position in what is being called the “patent war of the century” between the world’s top smartphone brands that are fighting for dominance in the global market. The two have been involved in legal battles over mobile devices since 2011.

In November, a U.S. jury issued a verdict ordering Samsung Electronics to pay Apple $290 million in damages, saying the South Korean firm copied key features of the iPhone and iPad devices.

The amount falls short of the $379.8 million requested by the Silicon Valley company but is much higher than the $52.7 million Samsung argued it should pay.

In August 2012, a jury at the U.S. District Court for Northern California awarded Apple $1.05 billion, one of the largest payouts of its kind, which was seen as a massive victory for Apple. However, Judge Lucy Koh ordered a new trial, concluding the amount Samsung owed was miscalculated. Apple had originally sought $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung.

In March this year, the judge accepted $640 million in a partial judgment, while tossing out $450 million of the amount.

If Koh accepts the new verdict, Samsung will have to pay a total of $930 million. A ruling is expected early next year.

In October of this year, the Barack Obama administration imposed a ban on imports of some old mobile devices manufactured by Samsung Electronics, saying they infringed Apple’s patents.