Judge rejects Apple's plea for Samsung smartphone ban

Samsung infringement of some Apple iPhone features doesn't merit sales ban, rules federal Judge Lucy Koh. Apple's $1 billion court victory against Samsung was for the latter copying 'a few narrow protected functions.'   

Tim Wimborne/Reuters/File
A passerby photographs an Apple store logo with his Samsung Galaxy in central Sydney in this September file photograph. A U.S. judge on Dec. 17, 2012, denied Apple Inc's request for a permanent injunction against Samsung Electronics' smartphones.

A federal judge has denied a legal request by Apple Inc. to ban U.S. sales of Samsung smartphone models that a jury in August said illegally used Apple technology.

The decision is part of a series of rulings that U.S. Judge Lucy Koh says she is releasing over a period of several weeks to address the many legal issues raised in the case.

Koh's ruling Monday night comes after Apple this summer was awarded $1.05 billion in damages. A jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad.

Apple had urged the judge to permanently ban the U.S. sales of eight Samsung smartphone models, while also seeking to add millions more to the award. A jury in August said the South Korean firm illegally used Apple technology.

"The phones at issue in this case contain a broad range of features, only a small fraction of which are covered by Apple's patents," Koh wrote in her ruling. "Though Apple does have some interest in retaining certain features as exclusive to Apple, it does not follow that entire products must be forever banned from the market because they incorporate, among their myriad features, a few narrow protected functions," she wrote.

Earlier this month, Koh appeared ready to trim the $1 billion jury verdict Apple won over Samsung Electronics, but gave no indication as to by how much.

Adding to the legal tangle, Apple filed a second lawsuit earlier this year, alleging that Samsung's newer products are unfairly using Apple's technology. That's set for trial in 2014. In addition, the two companies are locked in legal battles in several other countries.

Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny claimed earlier this year that Samsung "willfully" made a business decision to copy Apple's iPad and iPhone, and he called the jury's $1.05 billion award a "slap in the wrist."

Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven has argued that Apple was trying to tie up Samsung in courts around the world rather than competing with it head-on. Samsung has also claimed that it was deprived of a fair trial in a courthouse about a dozen miles (20 kilometers) from Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters.

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