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June 28, 2017

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Samsung-Apple patent settlement still looks far off

The patent litigation still looks to be far from reaching a settlement as Apple Inc. appealed a previous ruling by a U.S. federal judge to call off a sales ban on 26 Samsung Electronics' products.

Apple on Thursday decided to appeal a U.S. judge's Dec. 17 ruling to reject its request for a sales ban on more than two dozen electronics devices manufactured by Samsung. Those gadgets include the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Epic and Galaxy S II Skyrocket.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has stated that "it wasn't in the public interest to bar Samsung devices because the infringing elements constituted a limited part of Samsung phones."

The Cupertino-based firm, as a result, is now seeking a review of the ruling from a federal appeals court in Washington.

Samsung and Apple are waiting for a final ruling on a patent infringement case at the court in San Jose.

Earlier in August, a jury at the San Jose court ruled that Samsung had infringed on six of Apple's patents — three utility and three standards-essential patents — and fined Samsung US$1.05 billion.

However, two of those utility patents — the bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom patents — have been ruled invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with the "tap-to-zoom" patent left for review among the three.

Standards-essential patents include design patents that Apple has been accusing Samsung of "slavishly copying" its design since the beginning of the patent war in April of last year.

Although it would matter the most to the South Korean IT behemoth to have the court acknowledge it did not violate Apple's design patents, the fine given to Samsung is most likely to be cut.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is also scheduled to give its final decision to a patent infringement claim raised by Apple against Samsung on Jan. 9. ITC Judge Thomas Pender said on Oct. 24 that Samsung had violated four Apple patents in dispute, including one for the design of the iPhone.

Another final ruling on the patent infringement claim raised by Samsung against Apple to the ITC will be announced Jan. 14 as the U.S. trade agency said it will revisit its initial determination that said Apple did not violate any of the four Samsung patents.

On a separate front, the European Commission is soon expected to adopt a statement of objections "very soon" on Samsung's use of standard-essential patents involved in its global battle with Apple.

The EU is currently probing whether the Suwon-based company violated an agreement to license key patents to other mobile phone manufacturers on fair terms.

Such a statement was issued shortly after Samsung announced its decision to drop its request for a ban on the sales of a number of Apple's smartphones and tablet PCs in Europe.

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