Samsung and Apple fail to get sales ban on each other's products

iPhone, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab and iPad still all on sale, despite court action from both parties

19 Dec 2012
Apple iPhone 5

The era of legal competition between smartphone and tablet giants Apple and Samsung could be drawing to a close, as two separate courts both refused to allow the companies to ban each other's products from sale.

In a US court, Apple's request to ban sales of Samsung's Galaxy family of devices - including the best-selling Galaxy S3 smartphone and Galaxy Note 2 - has been denied. Despite Apple claiming that Samsung's product design infringes three of its design patents - including one famously summed up as a "rectangle with rounded corners" - District Judge Lucy Koh has stated that a sales ban is not required, as "Apple's evidence does not establish that any of Apple's three design patents covers a feature that actually drives consumer demand."

Although the ruling is a clear win for Samsung in the US, the story is reversed in Europe: a separate court case saw Samsung attempt to ban Apple's mobile products, including the flagship iPhone 5 and iPad 4, from sale due to claimed patent infringement. Here, too, the judge has found no reason to cease sales of a competing device - leaving customers in both Europe and the US free to choose which company they wish to back with their hard-earned cash.

While both companies are free to appeal the rulings, industry analysts are keen to see them both ditch their attempts to quash competition through litigation and instead go back to innovating with their devices. With Apple reportedly looking into alternative suppliers for its mobile device displays and processors - currently produced on Apple's behalf by Samsung's semiconductor arm - the rift between the two companies will not likely be healed quickly, but if the lawyers can be given some time off it would surely help.

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