Apple and Samsung may currently be engaged in a high-profile patent suit here in the States, but the companies are actually going to war all around the world. A similar case in South Korea has just wrapped up, with a Seoul court ruling that Apple and Samsung have infringed on each other's patents. What's worse is that Apple and Samsung are now banned from selling a variety of devices in South Korea, including the Galaxy S II for Samsung and the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 for Apple.
Much like the court case here in the US, Apple accused Samsung of copying the design of the iPhone with devices of its own. While the court ruled that Samsung didn't infringe on the design of the iPhone, it did find that Samsung and Apple are guilty of infringing on each other's patents. Apple, the court rules, has infringed on one of Samsung's patents, while Samsung has infringed on two of Apple's. As a result, Samsung must pay a fine of 40 million won (around $35,300, or $17,650 for each patent), while Apple will be forced to pay 25 million won ($22,000) for its infringement. Reuters reports that the fines are so small because of the size of the South Korean market.
The Judge deciding the case said that consumers are unlikely to confuse devices from the two companies, since both company's logos are printed on the back of the phones. The Judge also cited the differences in applications and operating systems as reasons why consumers probably wouldn't get confused, and recognized Samsung's attempt at differentiating its products from Apple's, despite the fact that making significant changes to touchscreen phones isn't exactly the easiest thing to do.
One has to wonder if the case here will go the same direction. There are similarities between the iPhone and some Samsung devices, yes, but you would be hard pressed to find a smartphone that was truly unique from every other device out there. In any case, the jury began deliberation on Wednesday, so it shouldn't be too much longer before we have a winner in the case. Then again, Apple and Samsung both presented a lot of evidence throughout the trial, so we might be waiting a while. Stay tuned.