Apple won a round in its seemingly never-ending legal battles with Samsung today, making it more likely that Apple will be able to deny Samsung the ability to import some of its smartphone models into the U.S.
Which sounds scary, but is actually ultimately meaningless.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Apple won a big fat court case against Samsung which would theoretically have resulted in the payment of about $1 billion to Cupertino, as compensation for Samsung copying Apple’s technology and style. Apple wanted $700 million more, but actually saw that billion shrink by $450 million, and a key patent in the case get invalidated by the U.S. patent office. The original big daddy court case has spawned multiple cute little child court cases, proving that lawyers are prolific beasts, and in spite of reason and rationality in a Korean court that told both companies they were each copying the other and an impassioned call for global patent peace from legal Ghandi Justice Lucy Koh, the madness has continued to this day.
While Justice Koh had denied Apple’s request for a total product ban, arguing that this would only be justified if Samsung’s infringing features were solely responsible for Samsung’s sales wins, the U.S. court of appeal said that Apple only needs to show that those features were partly responsible.
So, the court said: “We vacate the district court’s denial of Apple’s request for a permanent injunction with respect to its utility patents and remand for further proceedings.”
Note those last four words: remand for further proceedings. Yet more court cases will, inevitably, follow.
To give you a hint what a huge victory Apple scored today, the products it won the right to re-argue in yet another court case for a complete and total import ban on are the Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Fascinate, Mesmerize, Vibrant, and Galaxy S (i9000).
Which products are like, selling in the thousands today. On eBay. Used.
Yeah, you got it. Not the bestselling Galaxy S III, or the new flagship Galaxy S4. Instead, a bunch of minor models that Apple first tried to ban in late 2011 and into 2012. In other words, if today was a victory, it’s a Pyrrhic victory. Apple may have won, but it doesn’t matter in any real or actual or market-driven sense.
Because, even though Apple can potentially use this mini-win as a lever in an upcoming court battle in which it will try to ban these products plus some of Samsung’s newer models that are actually selling in the millions in the U.S., due to the stunning speed of the U.S. court system — glaciers got nothing on these boys — any kind of victory will be likely put off until sometime in 2015, by which time Samsung will be on Galaxy S5 or S6 or S7, will have continued its journey to wean itself of product elements that can potentially be seen as infringing on Apple products, and will merrily continue selling its popular products in probably ever-increasing quantities.
But hey, Apple won.