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Aug 24, 2012

Samsung knockout Apple in Seoul

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South Korea's Samsung has won a home court ruling in its global smartphone battle against Apple with judges in Seoul saying the company didn't copy the look and feel of the US company's iPhone, and that Apple infringed on Samsung's wireless technology.

The Seoul Central District Court ruling called for a limited ban on sales of products including iPads and smartphones from both companies, though the ruling did not affect the latest-generation phones - Apple's iPhone 4S or Samsung's Galaxy S3.

The declaration ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and 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.

The court also has denied Apple's claim about Samsung that they have illegally copied their design, ruling that big rectangular screens in cases with rounded corners had existed in products before the iPhone and iPad.

Nam Ki-yung, a spokesman for Samsung, said the company welcomed the ruling.
'Today's ruling also affirmed our position that one single company cannot monopolise generic design features,' he said.

Apple did not respond to multiple calls seeking comment.

The court also ordered each company to pay monetary compensation to its competitor.After the rulings Samsung must pay have to pay Apple 25 million won ($A21,146) while Apple must pay its rival 40 million won.

South Korea is not a big market for Apple, and the ruling is not likely to have a big impact on jury deliberations in the US.

Apple received more bad news from Asia on Friday, as a new report found its smartphone market share in China dropped by half in the April-June quarter. The report, by research company IDC, blamed Apple's losses on two factors: Consumers putting off iPhone purchases until the new model is introduced in the fall, and the rise of Chinese mobile companies such as Lenovo and ZTE. With 10 percent of the market, Apple dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 among Chinese smartphone retailers. China is Apple's second-biggest market, and it is expected to pass the U.S. as the world's biggest smartphone market later this year.

Courts in Europe, including The Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany have rejected similar claims by Samsung that Apple violated its wireless patents, with judges arguing that the patents have become part of industry standards. Standard-essential patents are a crucial technology for new players to make products compatible with the rest of the market and must be licensed under fair and reasonable terms.

'This is basically Samsung's victory on its home territory,' said patent lawyer Jeong Woo-sung. 'Out of nine countries, Samsung got the ruling that it wanted for the first time in South Korea.'

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