Apple must show patents valid in Samsung case, says judge

By Lee Kaelin on October 14, 2011, 4:00 PM

In the latest courtroom fight between Apple and Samsung, US District Judge Lucy Koh has said that Galaxy tablets have indeed copied Apple's iPad, but added that Apple has a problem establishing the validity of its patents. The company is now required to show in the San Jose Federal Court that Samsung violated their patents and that they are valid under law, before the courts can order an injunction.

At the hearing, the Judge said she would deny Apple's request for an injunction based on one of the company's so called "utility" patents. She did not comment on whether she would grant the injunction based on the remaining three Apple "design" patents, however. Judge Lucy Koh further commented that her thoughts on the utility patent were tentative but said she would issue a formal order fairly promptly.

The Judge frequently remarked on how similar the two tablets were, at one point during the hearing holding both up above her head asking Samsung attorney Kathleen Sullivan if she could identify the Samsung tablet. "Not at this distance your honor," she replied, despite being in the podium ten feet away. "Can any of Samsung's lawyers tell me which one is Samsung and which one is Apple?," Koh asked. A few moments later one of the lawyers was able to identify the tablet.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad [...] This kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas." said Kristen Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple.

Yesterday, Samsung had their Galaxy tablets temporarily banned from sale in the Australian market, after Judge Justice Bennett of New South Wales ruled that the Cupertino-based company had valid cause for legal action over the breach of its touchscreen patents.

The two companies are now fully engaged in a battle that encompasses more than 20 cases in 10 different countries as they both fight for the top spot in the phone and tablet markets. Judge Koh is yet to decide on whether to side with Apple's request to ban Samsung's Galaxy S 4G smartphone and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets from sale in the US.

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