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Seoul court defers ruling on Samsung, Apple patent fight

The outcome in Korea of a patent fight between global IT behemoths Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. will be heard at a Seoul court on Aug. 24.

The Seoul Central District Court said Thursday it will announce the outcome of the intellectual property rights dispute between the two electronics firms in about two weeks, canceling the ruling which was supposed to take place this Friday.

“We’ve decided to announce the ruling at a later date to further work on the ruling statement,” said a court official. “It takes time to clearly write up the statement for it deals with a lot of material. The fact that it’s a crucial ruling has also contributed to the deferral.”

However, some industry sources say the cancellation move may have been made to take into consideration the results of the two’s patent infringement case in the U.S.

The two companies are also currently battling out a multibillion-dollar case in San Jose, California.

The final trial at the San Jose court is scheduled to be held on Aug. 21. The series of hearings in San Jose began on July 30.

With the patent battle taking place in several countries worldwide, Samsung filed a suit at the Seoul court claiming that its rival Apple infringed on its patents on various technology involving wireless data communication and data transfer in April last year.

The action was taken after Apple filed its own suit at a U.S. court but Apple decided to follow the suit and submit another one at the Seoul court last June.

Apple’s intellectual property infringement suit stated that Samsung copied Apple’s designs and user interface for its smartphones and tablet PCs.

The ruling on the issue has already been deferred once, as it was expected to take place here in March. However, it was rescheduled due to the court’s internal restructuring among other reasons.

“The court session is being spotlighted as it is the first real ruling that will be announced on Samsung’s home turf,” said an industry source. “There are also other trials launching in other countries such as the U.S., which means this decision may have an impact on them.”

In the U.S., Apple most recently unveiled an internal Samsung document that compared the original Galaxy S handset with Apple’s iPhone, which it used as proof that Samsung “slavishly copied” its flagship smartphone.

The 132-page document, which was written in 2010 by Samsung’s product engineering team, reportedly compares the features of the two smartphones, such as the home screen, browser and the built-in apps.

Foreign media outlets said the report came up with recommendations, upon Samsung’s request, for making its Galaxy S handset work more like the iPhone.

The unveiling of the document comes after Samsung leaked its interview held with Apple’s former designer Shin Nishibori to the press last week as U.S. Judge Lucy Koh refused to accept it as evidence.

The data, which was put into a slideshow, contained testimony from Nishibori that the iPhone was influenced by Sony-style designs.

However, Nishibori refused to appear in court for testimony, further stating he had health issues and that he was currently residing in Hawaii.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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