In another twist in the high-stakes global computing patent battle between tech giants Apple Inc (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics, a three-judge panel in Seoul Court ruled on Friday that Apple and Samsung both violated each other’s patents on mobile devices. The court found Apple infringed on two of Samsung’s wireless technology patents, resulting in damages of about $35,000 for the South Korean-based firm.
The court also found that while it decided that Apple had infringed on two Samsung patents, it ruled that Samsung had violated Apple’s ‘bounceback’ design patent, which is related to a function used when scrolling electronic documents. Samsung was ordered to pay $22,000 in damages. Both companies had sought damages of about $90,000 from the other. That’s according to Reuters, which also reports that other than the light financial slap on the wrist for both co.’s, the court also found that while Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone looks very similar to Apple’s iPhone, Samsung has not violated the iPhone design given that consumers can tell the difference between a Samsung Galaxy and Apple’s flagship smartphone. Both companies clearly have the respective company logos on the back of each model, the ruling said.
“There are lots of external design similarities between the iPhone and Galaxy S, such as rounded corners and large screens … but these similarities had been documented in previous products,” a judge at the Seoul Central District Court was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.
“Given that it’s very limited to make big design changes in touch-screen based mobile products in general … and the defendant (Samsung) differentiated its products with three buttons in the front and adopted different designs in camera and (on the) side, the two products have a different look,” the judge said.
The South Korean ruling, which means both companies will immediately stop selling previous products like the iPhone 4 and iPad 2, as well as the Galaxy 10.1 tablet PCs, Galaxy SII and Galaxy Nexus smartphones, comes as a jury in California is deliberating on a patent trial, called the “patent trial of the century”, between the two firms.
Apple is demanding total damages of up to $2.75 billion from Samsung for allegedly violating its patented designs and features in the iPad and iPhone.
Samsung argues Apple has violated a clutch of its patents and is looking for $422 million from its rival in compensation.
The South Korean ruling comes as the two tech titans are locked in a fierce rivalry for industry supremacy.
Samsung captured 29% of the world-wide smartphone shipments in the first quarter of the year, compared with 23% for Apple, according to tech research firm IDC.