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Apple Beats Samsung in South Korean Patent Suit

Apple Beats Samsung in South Korean Patent Suit
December 12, 2013 1:08PM

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Patent lawsuits like those between Apple and Samsung are nothing new. But in the recent past, tech companies have slowly begun to engage in patent lawsuits knowing that they may be able to get competing products banned. Had Samsung won, it could have hurt Apple in a significant way by having its iPhones taken out of South Korean stores.

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Only weeks after an American case between Apple and Samsung came to an end, with Apple winning millions, the company has won another lawsuit against Samsung in South Korea. This has resulted in Samsung losing in its home country to Apple, which was on the defensive after Samsung claimed that the company had infringed on its own smartphone patents.

Defensive, Not Offensive

Unlike many of its U.S. lawsuits, Apple was on the defensive during the Samsung case in South Korea. The Korean smartphone manufacturer had claimed that Apple was infringing upon three of its patents and instead of seeking millions of dollars as a settlement, it was trying to get the iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 banned from the country.

Along with banning the devices, Samsung was looking to receive $100,000 in damages, which is little more than a drop in the bucket when compared to the billion dollar lawsuit that Samsung was dealing with only a few months ago.

Though the case has not been publicized to the same extent as the U.S. patent dispute, the Korean case highlights how far companies are willing to go in order to defend their patents. This practice of defending standard-essential patents that are not vital to a device is now looked down upon by many analysts who fear that it may actually hurt innovation in the long run.

Bans Instead Of Money

Patent lawsuits are nothing new but in the recent past, tech companies have slowly begun to engage in the lawsuits with the knowledge that they may be able to get competing products banned. This sort of sales ban was sought after by Samsung, which would have been able to hurt Apple in a significant way by having its Phones taken out of South Korean stores.

Samsung may have failed, but now Apple may be in a position to seek a ban on some of Samsung's smartphones after the company proved that Samsung had infringed on its patents.

When patent lawsuits result in monetary settlements, it generally does not affect consumers as the companies involved in the suits have billions of dollars available. However, analysts are beginning to express their concern that if Apple, Samsung, and others are able to ban products, consumers are going to have to deal with fewer choices when looking for new phones.

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