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S Korea bans some Apple and Samsung products
Court in Seoul rules that both technology giants infringed on each other's patents in battle for smartphone supremacy.
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2012 10:46
Samsung filed a lawsuit against Apple in Seoul in April last year regarding infringement of patents [Reuters]

Apple and Samsung have been banned from selling some of their products in South Korea, after a court ruled that they both infringed on each other's patents on mobile devices.

The court ruling on Friday comes as the two firms are locked in a bitter patent battle that could determine their fight for supremacy in the global smartphone market.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered Apple to remove the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPad 2 from store shelves in South Korea, ruling that the products infringed on two of Samsung's telecommunications patents.

The court also ruled that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung had infringed on one of Apple's patents related to the screen's bounce-back ability and banned sales of the Galaxy S2 and other products in South Korea.

Samsung filed a lawsuit against Apple in Seoul in April last year regarding infringement of patents related to telecommunications standards.

Apple responded in June by filing a counter suit claiming Samsung copied the design and user interface of its iPhone and iPad.

The split ruling is not expected to make any impact on the broader dispute which involves legal action in several nations including the US and Australia.

The South Korean decision comes ahead of a high-stakes US jury verdict that is expected to signal the future course of the rival firms' tussle for smartphone supremacy.

Bitter battle

In the US court, Apple is seeking more than $2.5bn after accusing the Korean firm of infringing designs and other patents. Samsung says Apple infringed its patents for wireless communication.

It is one of several legal cases around the world involving the two electronics giants in the hottest part of the tech sector - tablet computers and smartphones.

While the results so far have been mixed in courts in Europe and Australia, Samsung has a lot at stake in the US case, which could result in large damages or injunctions against its products in the American market.

A recent survey by research firm IDC showed Samsung extended its lead over Apple in the smartphone market in the second quarter despite slowing demand for mobile phones.

Samsung shipped 50.2 million smartphones globally in the April-June period, while Apple sold 26 million iPhones. IDC said Samsung held 32.6 per cent of the market to 16.9 per cent for Apple.

Samsung has steadfastly denied abusing Apple patents and countered in court that Apple has been taking advantage of some of the South Korean company's patented technology for wireless connections.

The battle is all the more complex as Apple and Samsung are not only competitors in the fast-growing global market for smartphones and tablet computers, but also have a close business relationship.

Samsung, the world's biggest manufacturer of memory chips and liquid crystal displays, supplies some of the key components that go into Apple products.

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