Samsung is facing another preliminary ban on 9 of their smartphones here in the United States thanks to Apple’s ruthless pursuit of patent “justice.” That would sound quite crippling for any company, except there’s one detail about those 9 smartphones that makes it a laughable situation: Samsung is no longer selling them.
The ruling was made by Judge Lucy Koh, who infamously holds the honor of being the first judge to rule that Samsung infringed on Apple’s frivolous design patents. Her original judgment was that a monetary fine was enough punishment, but her ruling was eventually upscaled by the US Court of Appeals, who said Samsung’s phones should have been banned.
The phones in question are the Samsung Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Galaxy S3, and Stratosphere. In case you haven’t already realized it, none of these phones are actually available for sale anymore, so a sales ban doesn’t exactly hurt Samsung in the here and now.
That said, it doesn’t mean the ruling is insignificant. It continues to lay out precedence for supporting a patent system that seems by and large broken. Even though Samsung will suffer minimal monetary damage, it makes it likely that future lawsuits could spawn similar judgments, and if it happens to one of the smartphones Samsung (or anyone else, for that matter) is still actively selling it won’t be such a laughing matter.
The case is so troubling that tech giants have come together for a second time to submit another friend of the court brief that backs Samsung and calls for the need of change in the patent industry. It’s clear that reform needs to happen eventually, but for now Apple seems to be the only major beneficiary of the broken system and we aren’t surprised that they aren’t willing to admit it.