Earlier this month, Samsung filed a court order requesting to look at Apple’s next-generation devices in order to look for close similarities between them and Samsung Galaxy devices. Apple, in response, filed a request to ban the sale of any Samsung mobile devices in the United States. Both companies were denied their requests.
Of course, it would be a great blow and humiliation for Apple to show its future mobile products, including the next-generation iPhone, in court. The company argued that Samsung’s request was simply made to "harass" Apple into disclosing trade secrets. It’s not a surprise that this request was denied, it was never expected to get very far to begin with.
Apple’s injunction to ban Samsung Galaxy products from being sold in the United States was denied as well, however. Since Apple’s current products will soon be surpassed by new ones, the court believes that it wouldn’t make sense to ban Samsung products until Apple’s new iPhone and iPad are shown off:
Samsung is free to argue, for instance, that there is little likelihood of confusion because consumers will not encounter its products side-by-side with the iPhone 4 or iPad 2, but rather with Apple’s next generation iPhone and iPad. Similarly, as to proximity, Samsung is free to argue that because the iPhone 4 and iPhone 2 will soon be outmoded and reduced in price, they are not being sold (or very soon will not be sold) to the same class of purchasers who are likely to buy new Samsung products. By choosing to allege infringement only of its current products, Apple opens itself up to these arguments.
Apple has likely gone as far as to request a ban on Samsung products in order to get an expensive settlement from the South Korean company, and drop the charges altogether.
Samsung is still one of Apple’s most important partners. It is, for example, responsible for assembling the company’s A5 chips, which can be found inside every iPad 2, and allegedly on the next-generation iPhone. Samsung, on the other hand, also competes with Apple’s mobile division with its Android-powered Galaxy Line, comprised by the Galaxy Tab, an Android Honeycomb-based tablet, and the Galaxy S, a smartphone.
It’s unclear where this lawsuit will go from here, but it’s likely to have no consequence outside the courts and board rooms. At worst, Samsung will be paying Apple a heavy settlement, and see the lawsuit dropped.
(via FOSS Patents)