South Korean phone maker Samsung won a home court ruling Friday in its global patent battle against Apple and its popular iPhone and iPad devices.
Judges in Seoul said Samsung Electronics Co. didn’t copy the look and feel of the iPhone and ruled that Apple infringed on Samsung’s wireless technology.
However, the judges also said Samsung violated Apple’s technology behind a feature that causes a screen to bounce back when a user scrolls to an end image. Both sides were ordered to pay limited damages.
The Seoul Central District Court ruling called for a partial ban on products from both companies, though the verdict did not affect the latest-generation phones — Apple’s iPhone 4S or Samsung’s Galaxy S III — or the newest iPad. Both sides were also ordered to pay limited damages.
The ban applies only to sales in South Korea, and the ruling is part of a larger, epic struggle over patents and innovation unfolding in nine countries. The biggest stakes are in the U.S., where Apple is seeking $2.5 billion from Samsung over allegations it has created illegal knockoffs of iPhones and iPads.
The South Korean ruling is not expected to affect the U.S. case. On Friday, a federal jury in San Jose, California, began its third day of deliberations. A federal judge has ordered jurors there to refrain accessing any news regarding the two companies.
Nonetheless, the Seoul ruling was a rare victory for Samsung in its arguments that Apple has infringed on its wireless technology patents. Those arguments previously have been shot down by courts in Europe, where judges have ruled that they are part of industry standards that must be licensed under fair terms to competitors.
“This is basically Samsung’s victory on its home territory,” said patent attorney Jeong Woo-sung. “Out of nine countries, Samsung got the ruling that it wanted for the first time in South Korea.”
The ruling ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, the original iPad and the iPad 2 from store shelves in South Korea, saying that the products infringed on two of Samsung’s five disputed patents, including those for telecommunications technology. South Korea is not a big market for Apple.
The court also denied Apple’s claim that Samsung had illegally copied its design, ruling that big rectangular screens in cases with rounded corners had existed in products before the iPhone and iPad.
“It is not possible to assert that these two designs are similar based only on the similarity of those features,” the court said in a ruling issued in Korean and translated into English by The Associated Press. It also said individual icons in the Samsung products do not appear similar to the icons Apple used in the iPhone.
But the court ruled that Samsung had infringed on one of Apple’s patents, covering the bounce-back feature. The court banned sales of Samsung products using the technology, including the older Galaxy S II, 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, such as an appeal.