South Korea bans Apple's AND Samsung's ageing phones, tabs

Patent court dishes out pocket-change fines too


Both Apple and Samsung got teeny fines and had some of their products banned in South Korea, after a court in Seoul found they infringed on each other's patents.

The South Korean court said that Apple had infringed two of Samsung's wireless patents, while Sammy had infringed on a fruity firm patent related to a "bounce-back" touchscreen feature, Bloomberg, the Financial Times and others reported.

The court decided that Samsung didn't copy the design of the iPhone, but a number of Sammy's older products have been banned along with older iDevices as well.

The iPhone 4S and the latest iPad are safe, as is Samsung's Galaxy SIII, but the judge ordered the firms to immediately stop selling 10 Sammy devices – including the SII – and four Apple devices, including the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2.

The court also awarded damages to both sides, but only enough to cause a momentary fumble in their pockets. Apple only needs to pay 40m won ($35,000, £22,000) and Samsung just has to hand over 25m won ($22,000, £14,000).

Both firms are able to appeal the decision and as the bans are on older products, neither firm is too inconvenienced for the moment. While South Korea is a big market for Samsung, it's a smaller slice of the Apple pie so even if the bans survive appeal, there's only likely to be a small impact on the companies. By the time the appeal is over, both firms will have more products out, pushing the forbidden devices back even further.

The South Korean court's ruling comes just ahead of the US jury's decision in the Californian court, which is likely to have a much higher impact on the companies. Apple is looking for $2.5bn in damages out of the US case, while Samsung would like $500m if it wins. Bans in the US would also be a bigger hit on their bottom lines than the bans in South Korea are likely to be. ®


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