Obama administration vetoed a U.S. trade panel's ban on the import and sale of some older iPhones and iPads, reversing a ruling that had favored South Korea's Samsung over Apple in their long-running patent battle. The move was vehemently criticized by the South Korean media as "protectionism."
"We express concerns about the negative impact that such a decision would have on the protection of patent rights," the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, said in a statement.
Apple and Samsung, the world's top two smartphones makers, have been waging a global patent war since 2011, filing multiple lawsuits against each other over the design, interface and technology of their devices.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in June banned the import and sale of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G distributed by AT&T Inc (T.N), saying the devices infringed on one patent owned by the South Korean electronics giant.
Samsung had also accused Apple of infringing on three other patents, but the ITC found that Apple did not infringe those. A Samsung spokesman said on Monday the electronics giant in July appealed the ITC decision on the three patents.
LG Display is looking to get a ban on sales of Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet in South Korea, claiming that it violates three of their patents covering the display. LG Display can also be seeking damages of US$933,000 daily for ongoing infractions while Samsung continues to sell named device. The most recent move is surely an escalation in a patent dispute involving the two companies over display patents.
Back in September, LG Display filed a patent lawsuit against numerous Samung smartphones citing OLED related patents. Samsung denies the claims, and possesses previously noted that it holds more display related patents than LG Display - so a tit-for-tat dispute could escalate even further if the two sides cannot agree funds.
In November, Samsung retaliated by filing its own suit against LG seeking to invalidate the patents in question on the grounds that they "lack innovation."
It looks like one of the best Samsung devices, the Galaxy Nexus will remain in stores because a judge has denied Apple's bid to ban sales of this cool device.
The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. denied Apple's request to reinstate an injunction against the Galaxy Nexus that had been granted in June and lifted in October.
Thursday's ruling is yet another chapter in the epic patent dispute raging between Apple and Samsung. Apple had requested that the Nexus be banned before March 2014, when the two are expected to meet in court again. The appeals rejection is a definite win for Samsung, and its partner Google, which will now be able to keep its popular Galaxy Nexus phone on the market.
As Reuters notes, Apple can certainly bring another appeals request to the U.S. Supreme Court. It will likely, however, be more difficult to get a sales injunction against Samsung there.