While the tech world waits with bated breath for the conclusion of Apple's United States case against the world's most prolific smartphone maker, another case is just wrapping up in Samsung's home country of South Korea. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Seoul court found both Apple and Samsung in violation of each other's patents, with the former violating two of Samsung's patents and the latter violating one of Apple's.

seoul lawsuit

Samsung must pay 25 million won to Apple while they get 20 million won in return for each patent violation - in U.S. dollars, that's $22,000 and 2x$17,650, respectively. More interesting are the device bans put in place. As of today, Samsung can't sell the original Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Nexus, original Galaxy Tab, or Galaxy Tab 10.1, while Apple is barred from selling the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. The WSJ notes that none of these devices are the latest models. This is true, but several of them (notably the Galaxy Nexus, iPhone 4, and iPad 2) are currently being sold at retail.

The decision in Seoul will have no formal bearing on Apple's current case in California, set to wrap up in a matter of days. That said, decisions made in foreign courts can often influence those made elsewhere, whether explicitly detailed in judicial conclusions or not. The court's statement that there was "no possibility" of consumer confusion between Apple's products and Samsung's stands in stark contrast to Apple's victories elsewhere. The court even explicitly stated that Samsung's app icons didn't infringe upon Apple's intellectual property - a sticking point in the current U.S. case.

[Via The Wall Street Journal]

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Laurence

    The sheer absurdity of the patent war laid bare.

  • Bariman43

    Awesome! And what did this solve? Answer: absolutely nothing! (alliteration not intended). That's a few less options for consumers. Everybody's going to lose as a result of these destructive, ridiculous lawsuits.

    • Eldon

      It did solve something, the courts in California to side with apple.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    I find it hilarious that the amounts traded in Korea are in 10s of thousand, yet the amounts wanted by Apple in the U.S. are in the billions ($2.5bln).

    P.S. Florian Mueller is not amused http://www.fosspatents.com/2012/08/apple-samsung-ruling-suggests-south.html.

    • PhilNelwyn

      LOL at Florian Mueller's face. :D

    • Robert Jakiel

      Florian Mueller is a tool. This has been proven time and time again and in most cases is a paid shill.

      • invinciblegod

        You're just as bad as all those people who complain that Joystiq/Engadget/Gizmodo/The Wall Street Journal are paid by Apple and therefore are all their shills! Ignore the fact that Gizmodo has been banned from Apple press events for the Iphone 4 leak and engadget and gizmodo like the Nexus 7, they will always be paid because you can't stand any flaws in any android product!

    • montgoss

      I find it odd that people like Florian Mueller deem the valuable patents as FRAND and therefore worthless. Here is a patent that everyone actually agrees details an apparently vital piece of innovation. For their trouble coming up with this vital technology, Florian Mueller thinks Samsung shouldn't get anything. But Apple comes up with a completely arbitrary patent about some flourish that isn't even original and somehow they should be entitled to billions of dollars??

      • John O’Connor

        we all know Florian is a die-hard iFanboy

        • invinciblegod

          First, anyone who uses xfanboy is automatically deemed not trustworthy because those types of people do not want to have a discussion and will just reject any argument no matter what it is.

          Second, FRAND is determined by the standards process, not some lawyer.

          Third, isn't he being paid by Oracle and therefore doesn't really have anything to do with Apple?

          • John O’Connor

            vague statements and holier-than-thou character judgments certainly don't make me believe that anyone in their right mind would need, nay, want your trust.

            Yes, Florian is a paid consultant of Oracle among other things. He is a blogger, not a patent expert nor is he a patent lawyer. Before his biases became apparent I certainly followed his "opinions" and massive amount of coverage he provided in relation to technology and software patents.

            He has been quick to jump on board the iTrain and has a positively skewed bias in that direction.

            I have certainly not addressed FRAND or SEP in my comment, so perhaps you shouldn't put words in my mouth.

          • invinciblegod

            FRAND is in regards to the comment above yours by montgloss.

      • Matthew Fry

        So if I'm understanding this correctly, Samsung violated Apple's patent of "the rectangle with rounded corners" and Apple violated Samsung's patent on 3G data transmission technology... One of these patents is ridiculous...


    lol did i read that right that each were paying out 20k and ~35K? How much were lawyer fees for a joke of 20 grand! I love it.

  • Kenny O

    Face Palm

  • Kenneth Koh

    Ouch. Sales ban.

  • Lateef

    This should happen in the US court also. I mean the Galaxy Nexus and and iPhone getting banned from sales will make the companies release their new devices quicker (I want to upgrade my Nexus S 4g to a newer Nexus)

    • montgoss

      I'd be fine with that only because I already got my Galaxy Nexus. Of course, one of the main reasons I bought it was because of the impending sales ban... So, way to drive more customers to Samsung, Apple!

  • Knlegend1

    So after all that I can't spend my hard earned money on an iPhone 4 or gs2? What a waste of time and money if this is the conclusion. To get those devices now I'd have to get it the way I would've in the first place which is second rate.

  • nnest

    i law suits is not important to we the customers. i specifically don't care about how a phone looks.

  • Joris

    Apple really annoys me...
    And we might see the Galaxy Nexus become rare if all countries are going to ban it!

  • aeniwon

    so people will just buy 4s or SGIII?

  • Akbar

    What a waste for both sides!! Sad

  • http://twitter.com/stevenutt176 Steven Nutt

    I can't find anyone else referencing a ban on the Nexus, it's all SGS 1 and 2 only (on the Samsung phone side).

    • selonmoi

      This would make sense, since the Apple patent at issue was apparently the one covering the scroll bounce-back effect. which stock Android doesn't use.

  • John Petersen

    And as usual in these cases...only the customers lose.

  • Guest

    The problem with this decision is that it sets a precident. Even if Apple's patents were worthless, other companies patents may not be. Any company that has proprietary technology must now license their patents to Korean companies because they can't not use Samsung's patents because they are required to work with any 3g system. So Samsung can demand anything they want because they have the power to shut any company down. Just because Apple's patents are stupid doesn't mean that other companies patents are also stupid.

    Say for instance intel has a patent for a part of processor design. They want to make android phones. But then Samsung wants to improve their exynos processor with this technology. If Samsung Patent was not required as a 3G spec, Intel could just not use Samsung's patent. However, now it is required and if Intel does not use it, they would be pretty much not allowed on any 3G network because most people would require that Intel follow the spec exactly. Should Intel have to license its processor technology to Samsung?

    • Matthew Fry

      Yeah but isn't Samsung only going after Apple in retaliation? I don't see Samsung laying waste to all cell phone manufacturers.

      • invinciblegod

        But that logically also means that in my scenario, Intel better not sue Samsung or Samsung will ban all of intel's cell phones. Intel must now give Samsung its processor technology to sell phones.

  • invinciblegod

    If the ability to ask for anything you want because you have a FRAND patent becomes the norm, then i can think of 2 bad scenarios.

    1) People (companies are people) will start using standards based on the companies that has the Frand patents on that standard. So they decide based on history rather than technical merits. For instance if a future standard for 5g has patents from Samsung in it, Apple will try its best to promote a 4.5g standard that has Microsoft patents in it instead because it Apple has a cross licensing agreement with Microsoft and therefore has nothing to fear. Other people remember that Samsung can and will give them an injuction for anything so they decide on the 4.5g standard even though it may be inferior.

    2) People will never follow standards again and everyone has their own system. For instance, a new Video Chat standard is created that will allow anyone to use it and promise fulll interoptibility. However, Apple's facetime patents are included. RIM (if they are still alive) doesn't want to become beholden to Apple so they make their own standard. Microsoft will continue to use Skype because they don't want to be blackmailed into giving away their proprietary patents. Google will use google talk video chat and not use the standard.

    If anyone has any GOOD scenarios, please comment.