The legal war between Apple and Samsung has been happening for nearly five years now, and while the two companies have dropped their non-US lawsuits, they’re still battling in the States. The battle continues this week with a new order from Judge Lucy Koh.
Judge Koh has ordered an injunction to ban the sale of several Samsung phones. The thing is is that the phones are so old that the ban basically doesn’t matter. And in some instances, the way that the patent law works means that Samsung doesn’t need to worry about the ban.
First up, phone like the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy S III have been banned as a result of a “quick links” patent held by Apple. Samsung has 30 days before those phones need to be pulled from shelves, but the “quick links” patent actually expires on February 1, which is less than two weeks away. That means that Samsung needn’t worry about this patent.
Then there’s the “slide to unlock” patent. The Samsung phones included in this part of the ban are the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, and Stratosphere. However, Samsung no longer uses the unlock method found on those phones, so it needn’t worry about tweaking that unlock method.
Finally, there’s a patent related to autocorrect that was violated by the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, and Stratosphere.
Samsung has issued an official statement on this injunction order saying that while it’s “very disappointed” by the order, the ban won’t affect US consumers. “We would like to reassure our millions of loyal customers that all of our flagship smartphones, which are used and loved by American consumers, will remain for sale and available for customer service support in the U.S.,” the company explained.
Most of the phones included in this injunction are no longer sold, and many of them have probably been retired by folks that bought them in the past. As a result, today’s decision isn’t really a big deal for Samsung. It’s still a win for Apple, though, and so I’m sure that Tim Cook and Co. are pleased to have another victory — even if it is a small one — in their ongoing legal battle with Samsung. Meanwhile, if you’ve still got one of the affected phones laying around, you can dig it out and admire your now-banned piece of hardware.