Victory for Apple! Court bans sale of older Samsung phones


Samsung is banned from selling some of its older handsets. Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr CC

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a never-ending legal battle seemingly forever, but yesterday a federal court in California agreed to finally ban the U.S. sale of several Samsung smartphones which infringe on patents owned by Apple.

The bad news? The phones are now so old that they’re not really sold any more. But there’s some good news, too.

The phones covered by Judge Lucy Koh’s Monday ruling include Samsung’s Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S III and Stratosphere. That is because all of these devices have been found to infringe on Apple’s “slide-to-unlock” and auto word correction features.

While it’s pretty farcical to ban the sale of phones Samsung doesn’t even sell any more, Florian Mueller of Foss Patents notes that there are a few advantages to Apple’s victory.

First of all is the victory for Apple’s in-house and outside counsel, which has overcome years of setbacks to finally win in a battle of persistent litigation. More importantly, however, Mueller writes that: “Anyone considering infringing any of Apple’s patents in the future now knows that Apple may obtain an injunction even if the patents cover only limited aspects of small features of highly multi-functional products.”

Of course, whether or not the Supreme Court would uphold such a decision is another question, given the challenges of even getting the Supreme Court to hear a case.

Still, chalk this up as a victory for the good guys!