Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) are once again knee-deep in patent litigation. The two companies are currently arguing over the amount that should be paid for patent infringement on the part of Samsung in a retrial. While that retrial is still underway, another California court has offered Apple Inc. another tool for dealing with the South Korean company. Apple may be allowed to block Samsung products from the US.
A decision from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that a California judge should take another look at a request from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to block the sale of certain Samsung products in the United States. Apple previously tried to make that happen, but a judge denied the company the ability to blockade Samsung.
Samsung decision overturned
The pro Samsung decision was overturned today according to Reuters. The judge overseeing the appeal said that the lower court had made a mistake by denying the injunction on the sale of certain Samsung products. The injunction that the appeals court said should be reconsidered is based on the use of three utility patents by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930). Three design patents which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sought to use to have products banned will not be given another look, according to the decision.
That means that the lower court judge will have to reexamine the request for an injunction and offer an acceptable reason for denying or accepting the request. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will first have to bring the request back to the judge, but it seems unlikely the company will avoid that opportunity.
Apple to block Samsung
There are very few weapons that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is unwilling to use in its patent battle against Samsung. Now that the use of an injunction against some of the company’s products is back on the table, Apple will almost certainly seek to make use of it in any way that it can. The ban relates to older Samsung products, and likely won’t have a material impact on the business, but there are more important considerations.
In any legal dealing, the establishment of precedent is extremely important. If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) manages to secure a permanent ban on the sale of any Samsung device, even if the device is no longer sold by the company, it may make future bans easier. Apple seems willing to fight Samsung in patent court for years to come, so there may be more injunction requests around the corner.
The patent battles have largely become a sideshow in the wider spinning of the smartphone market. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is losing out to Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) as the high-end smartphone market gets saturated, and the company fails to compete in the developing world. Meanwhile Apple still manages to take most of the profits from the smartphone world, and its ecosystem remains the strongest and most iconic.
A ban on an important Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) smartphone or tablet could make the patent wars relevant to fans of the companies. Right now the lengthy back-and-forth concerning relatively small amounts of money adds nothing to the tech experience or investor value.