It's not hard to understand why Apple wants to ban Samsung devices from the U.S. market, but the iPhone-maker won't get its way with U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Well, at least the company isn't getting everything it fought for.
Koh, who judged the high-profile patent trial between the two companies, decided to award damages of $929 million to Apple. In other words, Samsung will have to shell out nearly $1 billion for infringing on its rival's intellectual property.
But Apple wanted more and the federal judge won't budge. Koh on Thursday rejected Apple's request to block the sale of older model Samsung smartphones and tablets in the U.S., even though she ruled the devices trampled on Apple's patents. She decided there's just not evidence that grabbing Apple's IP is what ultimately caused Samsung devices to sell to the American masses.
"To persuade the court to grant Apple such an extraordinary injunction -- to bar such complex devices for incorporating three touchscreen software features -- Apple bears the burden to prove that these three touchscreen software features drive consumer demand for Samsung's products," the judge wrote. "Apple has not met this burden."
Koh also said "the only new fact is that Samsung represents that no infringing units are currently in the marketplace." And added, "Apple presents no evidence that any current Samsung devices incorporate the patented features. As such, it appears that the public interest slightly favors Samsung."
Apple disagreed. In its court filing, the company argued, "Samsung's claim that it has discontinued selling the particular models found to infringe or design around Apple's patents in no way diminishes Apple's need for injunctive relief." Samsung lashed back, saying an injunction would drive "fear and uncertainty" for both retailers and carriers about what Samsung could offer without legal backlash from Apple.
Battle Goes On
In the end, Apple walks away with about $1 billion and Samsung can keep selling Android-powered phones. And, as Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics, told us, Apple just had to shoot for the ban. He's not surprised the judge refused to block the sale of Samsung devices in the U.S. market.
"This ruling comes on the heels of Apple and Samsung not being able to reach an agreement out of court," Entner said. "Banning the import of phones is a very drastic measure and would have put extreme pressure on Samsung to come to an agreement that probably would have been very beneficial to Apple."
It's clear that the judge did not agree that such an extreme measure was warranted and seems she would prefer to see Apple and Samsung reach a licensing agreement going forward.
"Judges always have to look at the whole picture and how much the parties in the suit are actually damaged," Entner said. "There are so many lawsuits going on these days. Apple won this one." Indeed, but the battle continues in the global mobile devices market.