Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, has won a U.S. district court injunction against its supplier and rival Samsung Electronics (Seoul: 005930), which should help sales of the iPad.
U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh Tuesday ordered Samsung to temporarily ban sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 model in the U.S., at least until a full trial starts before her in San Jose, Calif., on July 30.
Koh determined that the Korean electronics giant had infringed upon the patents of the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics designer. "Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products," her opinion said.
The ruling didn't seem to hurt Samsung much at home, though. Shares in Seoul rose 28,000 won (US $24.23) to 1.167 million won Wednesday, while shares of Apple rose $2.47 to close at $574.50.
Apple for years had argued that Samsung, while a major supplier, had obtained knowledge of its plans for tablets as well as the iPhone and had copied the "look and feel" of its best-selling products. The company filed more than 30 lawsuits in the U.S., Asia and Europe as well as before the U.S. International Trade Commission and the European Commission.
Judge Koh made her ruling after the case was sent back to her by a federal appeals court earlier this month. That court in Washington, D.C., hears all appeals in patent cases.
As a result, analyst Lee Se-Chul of Meritz Securities in Seoul said, Apple's case against Samsung in the U.S. is likely strengthened, although full trial on the patent issues hasn't been held yet.
To be sure, Samsung won a case in the Netherlands last week against Apple. In The Hague, a court found that Apple had infringed upon Samsung patents dealing with how iPhones and iPads connect to the web,
Samsung's lawyers said they would appeal Judge Koh's opinion at the federal appeals court. "We will take necessary legal steps and do not expect a ruling to have a significant impact on our business operations," the company said.
The Korean company said it already has "a diverse range" of Galaxy Tab products, a suggestion that they might be continued to be sold to U.S. customers even if the injunction stands.
In the past, patent lawyers have said that rather than continue their lawsuits, Apple and Samsung might well settle for some kind of cross-licensing deal, especially because Apple relies upon its rival for so many components designed into its products.
Apple's market value is $537.2 billion.