Sam­sung takes big bite in clash with Ap­ple

De­spite rul­ing, Kore­ans are ahead

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS -

SEOUL: South Korean mar­kets took in their stride a US fed­eral jury’s or­der for Sam­sung to pay $290 mil­lion (about R2.9 bil­lion) in dam­ages to Ap­ple, with Sam­sung shares go­ing up 0.69 per­cent yes­ter­day.

Sam­sung gained 10 000 won to close at 1.45 mil­lion won (R13 840), as the over­all KOSPI in­dex gained 0.62 per­cent fol­low­ing a rally on Wall Street.

“This is hardly a sur­prise. The mar­ket is not tak­ing it so se­ri­ously,” Won Seo, an an­a­lyst with Korea In­vest­ment & Se­cu­ri­ties Co. told AFP.

Seo and other an­a­lysts noted Sam­sung had al­ready ear­marked some $600m in the first quar­ter to help ride over such court bat­tles.

The court had re­jected Ap­ple’s claims that Sam­sung copied its de­sign on top of its tech­nol­ogy, Seo noted.

“Sam­sung will also be able to avoid fur­ther patent claims by us­ing var­i­ous kinds of al­ter­na­tive tech­nol­ogy,” he said.

A US fed­eral jury on Thurs­day or­dered Sam­sung to pay the $290m dam­ages to Ap­ple in a par­tial re­trial of a block­buster patent case in­volv­ing the two smart­phone gi­ants.

The award re­vises the $450m in dam­ages orig­i­nally granted in the land­mark suit, but thrown out by a judge. It is in ad­di­tion to nearly $600m in patent in­fringe­ment dam­ages up­held from the trial last year.

Ap­ple cal­cu­lated the com­bined to­tal of the dam­ages in the case at slightly less than $930m.

Ap­ple’s vic­tory has had lit­tle im­pact on new prod­ucts hit­ting the mar­kets

The tech gi­ant has ac­cused its South Korean ri­val of mas­sive and will­ful copy­ing of its de­signs and tech­nol­ogy for smart­phones and tablets, and won the land­mark case in a jury de­ci­sion in Au­gust last year.

The orig­i­nal verdict for more than $1bn was re­duced in March when Judge Lucy Koh in­val­i­dated some $450m and or­dered a re­trial on parts of the case.

The six- woman, two- man jury in Koh’s court­room in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia, reached a verdict on the third day of de­lib­er­a­tions.

Fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing the case, Sam­sung has asked the judge to stay pro­ceed­ings pend­ing a de­ci­sion by US patent of­fi­cials as to whether a “pinch-to­zoom” fea­ture at is­sue in the trial has a patent that is valid.

The Cal­i­for­nia case is among sev­eral pend­ing in courts and ad­min­is­tra­tive agen­cies around the world be­tween the two elec­tron­ics gi­ants, each of which ac­cuses the other of in­fring- ing on its patents.

In a state­ment, Ap­ple said the case has “al­ways been about more than patents and money… It has been about in­no­va­tion and the hard work that goes into in­vent­ing prod­ucts that peo­ple love”.

James Song of KDB Dae­woo Se­cu­ri­ties said Ap­ple’s vic­tory has had lit­tle im­pact on new prod­ucts hit­ting the mar­kets.

“Le­gal pro­cesses are sim­ply too slow to catch up with chang­ing the mar­ket, es­pe­cially in the IT sec­tor,” Song said.

“Ap­ple is strong in in­no­va­tion but Sam­sung is well ahead in its abil­ity to mar­ket.”

“There were ini­tial con­cerns last year that Sam­sung’s im­age would be stained as a copy cat but it has suc­ceeded in dis­tanc­ing it­self from Ap­ple with new prod­ucts such as its flag­ship Galaxy 4 smart­phones,” Seo said.

Af­ter years of fol­low­ing and re­fin­ing the iPhone's pi­o­neer­ing in­no­va­tions – a strat­egy that re­sulted in bit­ter patent bat­tles with Ap­ple – Sam­sung has de­throned its ri­val to be­come the world’s top smart­phone maker.

Sam­sung ex­tended its lead over Ap­ple in the global smart­phone mar­ket in the third quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to the IDC sur­vey.

Sam­sung had 31.4 per­cent of the mar­ket. Ap­ple sold 33.8 mil­lion iPhones in the quar­ter, but its growth was slower than the over­all mar­ket, so its share slipped to 13.1 per­cent from 14.4 per­cent a year ago. – Sapa-AFP

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

GREEN CAR: Mike Ac­cavitti, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tions at Amer­i­can Honda, sits in the 2014 Honda Ac­cord Hy­brid which was named “Green Car of the Year”, at the Los An­ge­les Auto Show in Cal­i­for­nia.

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