Just when you thought the Samsung vs. Apple patent smackdown wasn’t crazy enough, in storms a South Korean court like a fed-up parent settling an argument by spanking both kids involved.
Here’s what happened: Although the two companies have pretty much been duking it out on the world stage, a ruling in a Seoul court sided with “native son” Samsung in two domestic patent rulings. Then it turned around and made a judgment in favor of Apple over its “bounceback” design patent. As a result, both parties will have to pay some minor punitive damages (both under $50,000). But that’s not the kicker — this is: These rulings essentially mean that neither companies can sell their infringing gadgets in the country.
Ouch. South Korean tech users take mobile devices very seriously, so this would be like telling a salad bar not to open in a vegan community. Good thing most of the particular devices aren’t the latest models — the list includes the iPhone 4, iPad 2, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus — otherwise we might have seen a bona fide revolt stir up on the peninsula.
Other factoids about the judgment: The patents that Apple was guilty of infringing upon deal with standards-essential data transmission, and even though Samsung’s transgression was over a design patent, it’s not the highly publicized one dealing with icon design.
As for whether the South Korean court’s decision will sway the case in California or just wind up being a legal footnote, we’ll just have to wait and see.