SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) - A South Korean court ruled Friday that technology giants Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. both infringed on each other’s patents, and ordered a partial ban of their products in South Korea. The court also denied accusations that Samsung copied the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad.
The Seoul Central District Court ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 from store shelves in South Korea, ruling that the products infringed on two of Samsung’s five disputed patents, including those for telecommunications techology.
“Based on the similarity in these features, it is not possible to assert that the two designs are similar,” the court said in a ruling issued in Korean that was translated by the AP into English.
But in a twist, the court also ruled that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung had infringed on one of Apple’s patents related to the screen’s bounce-back feature, which causes the screen to bounce back when a user scrolls to an end image. The court banned sales of products using the technology, including the Galaxy S2, in South Korea.
Court spokesman Kim Mun-sung said the court’s ruling was to take effect immediately, although companies often request that sanctions be suspended while they evaluate their legal options.
Legal experts not directly involved in the case said the ruling was favorable to Samsung since the company had won rare recognition from a court _ that Apple infringed its wireless patents, which had been denied by courts in Europe.
Other courts in Europe rejected similar claims by Samsung that Apple violated its wireless patents, because many of the patents are considered to be industry standards. Industry standard patents are a crucial technology for new players to make products compatible with the rest of the market and must be licensed under fair and reasonable terms.
Europe’s anti-trust regulator launched an investigation earlier this year into whether Samsung was failing to license its standard patents under fair and reasonable terms. In Friday’s ruling, the court found no fault with Samsung and ruled that it did not abuse its industry standard patents.
The lawsuit is part of global, multibillion dollar fight between the world’s two largest smartphone makers that has been unfolding in nearly a dozen countries.
However, the biggest stakes are in the U.S., where the two companies are locked in an epic struggle over patents and innovation in a federal court in San Jose, California.