A U.S. judge has declared that Samsung infringes on Apple’s patents with its Galaxy smartphones and tablets, but also said that Apple has to prove the validity of its patents, Reuters reports.
The news is a half-win for Apple. If it can prove its patents valid it will be able block the sale of Samsung’s infringing products in the U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh made the statements during a court hearing on Thursday.
Apple filed suit against Samsung in April, saying that the Korean company “slavishly” copied its designs with the Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets. Apple later asked for an injunction barring the sale of Samsung’s products in the U.S.
“We think we’ve clearly raised substantial questions,” Samsung attorney Kathleen Sullivan said, referring to the validity of Apple’s patents. Apple attorney Harold McElhinny argued that Apple’s patents shouldn’t be invalidated by previous designs, since Apple’s product design is a leap beyond previous tablets.
According to Reuters, Judge Koh made several references to the design similarities between the tablets. During the hearing, she asked if the Samsung attorney could tell the difference between the two devices at one point, while holding both tablets above her head.
“Not at this distance your honor,” Sullivan said, who Reuters noted was standing around ten feet away. Koh asked again if any Samsung lawyer could tell the difference between the devices, and eventually one gave the right answer.
Koh also noted that she wouldn’t grant Apple’s injunction based on a single “utility” patent, though she noted that decision is just tentative at the moment.