Apple, Samsung Patent Fight Draws Blood

Apple and Samsung were each handed victories and defeats in court this week ahead of a patent trial scheduled to begin July 30.



Courts were busy around the world this week, marching slowly forward with numerous lawsuits between Apple and Samsung. Looking at the outcomes of several key decisions, it's difficult to assess which company is worse off at the moment and which is pulling ahead.

Samsung was denied an appeal Thursday to lift the ban currently preventing it from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android tablet in the United States. This is the second time Samsung has been denied in its effort to reinstate Galaxy Tab sales in the U.S.

The judge overseeing the patent trial between Apple and Samsung enacted the ban several weeks ago even though the trial doesn't start until July 30. Apple sought and won the preliminary injunction based on its potential to win the case. Samsung appealed to stay the ban.

In the judge's opinion, "[t]o prevail [on a motion to stay], a movant must establish a strong likelihood of success on the merits or, failing that, must demonstrate that it has a substantial case on the merits and that the harm factors militate in its favor." Samsung's appeal didn't convince the judge it has the merits to win, nor that it is being harmed by the ban.

[ Take a look at Samsung Galaxy S III Visual Tour: Android Superphone. ]

Samsung shot itself in the foot in June when a spokesperson said to the San Francisco Daily Journal, "[Samsung does] not expect the ruling enjoining the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to have a 'significant impact on [Samsung's] business operations,' noting that the company has other Galaxy Tab products to sell.'" Yeah, oops.

Samsung will have to wait until July 30 at the earliest to see about lifting the sales ban. The same trial will also cover the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which was banned and then un-banned earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Apple was handed an embarrassing decision earlier this week by a German patent court.

The judge overseeing the Apple versus Samsung Galaxy Tab case in Germany ruled that Samsung's tablet did not infringe on Apple's trade dress, nor did it "copy" the iPad. Aside from losing the court decision, the judge applied some good old fashioned penalty making and ordered Apple to advertise that Samsung "did not copy" Apple. It's unclear how and when Apple will have to make such a public advertisement.

Of course, Apple can relax at least a little bit, knowing that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is "not as cool" as the iPad.

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