Samsung is having a hard day. (They never got the hang of Thursdays.) After Australia upheld Apple’s injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with possible monopolistic implications, the judge in the United States case covering some of the same issues has confirmed that the Korean electronics giant is violating Apple’s patents here. This could pave the way for sales bans like those already in place down under and in Germany.
The comments come from the honorable U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who’s overseeing the ongoing patent case Apple brought forth against Samsung’s Galaxy line of phones and tablets. The news isn’t all bad: the judge said that she wouldn’t grant the requested sales block based on a “utility” patent, covering “graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”. That’s excellent news for all tablet makers (except for Apple), as without that particular bit of IP it would be almost impossible to make tablet software in the style of Android Honeycomb. There are three more patents in question that could make a compelling case for an injunction, but all three are “Design” patents, covering the look and feel of iOS that Apple is claiming Samsung infringed. Judge Koh did not mention these patents, but she said she would issue a formal order “fairly promptly.”
There’s been a lot of action in the Samsung case lately. Google, T-Mobile and Verizon have files amicus briefs in support of Samsung, claiming that Apple is using the courts to create a monopoly and that a sales ban would irreparable damage their businesses. It’s yet to be seen whether or not American courts will follow in the footsteps of others worldwide, but it looks like Samsung may be able to engineer their way around Apple’s design patents as they’ve done in the Netherlands already.