Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, has won a small victory in its battle against rival and supplier Samsung Electronics (Seoul: 005930).
A U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., denied an appeal by Samsung against a lower court's ruling that Apple can seek to ban Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the U.S. The court handles all patent appeals.
The Samsung product is the principal rival to Cupertino, Calif., based Apple's iPad, which contains many Samsung components. Apple, in cases before the U.S. International Trade Commission as well as in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., and nine other countries, contends Samsung copied the "look and feel" of the iPad.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose previously declined to act on Apple's request for a ban.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, a court in The Hague ruled Apple had violated a Samsung patent dealing with Internet connections that covers all iPad models, as well as the iPhone 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4.
Damages are to be paid based upon Dutch sales since Aug. 4, 2010, which the court said was the day on which Apple should have known it was infringing upon Samsung's intellectual property.
The Hague ruling, though, doesn't apply elsewhere in Europe, where Apple and Samsung have battled in Germany, Italy and France, where litigation is pending. Apple has prevailed in all the other countries so far.
Neither Apple nor Samsung issued statements concerning the rulings.
Apple last year obtained 676 U.S. patents, the U.S. Intellectual Property Organization reports, compared with 4,868 for Samsung, which already owns about 30,000 U.S. patents. Samsung ranked second only to International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), which received 6 148 patents.
But Apple's patent portfolio ranks very high in what experts call "pipeline power," or the strength of what the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers rates "prior art," which is crucial in IP lawsuits.
Still, that didn't prevent bankrupt Eastman Kodak (PINK: EKDKQ) from suing Apple on Monday, charging Apple is delaying its plans to auction parts of its 10,700-patent portfolio. Kodak needs cash to repay creditors, such as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which lent it $1 billion and took an equity stake in the company.
Apple previously claimed Kodak, of Rochester, N.Y., had infringed its patents that allow a user to preview a digital photo on a camera's LCD screen.
Shares of Apple fell $1.67 to $585.74 in Wednesday trading, while Kodak's shares fell a penny to 17 cents. Samsung shares rose 8000 Korean won (US $6.92) to 1.25 million won.