The fallout from one of the major legal conflicts between Samsung and Apple came to a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion on Friday. The U.S. Justice Department is closing its investigation into Samsung’s use of standards-essential patents to attack rivals, specifically Apple.
In August of 2013, the Obama administration overturned the U.S. International Trade Commission’s June order that banned sales of certain Apple products in the U.S., a minor Samsung victory in lieu of Apple’s big $1Billion win. Overturning this order made a Justice Department investigation into Samsung’s actions unnecessary.
The U.S. Justice Department is closing its investigation into Samsung's use of standards-essential patents to attack rivals.
The U.S. Patent Office and the Justice Department have argued that frequently allowing sales bans, as punishment for infringement of these types of patents, could lead to patent holders forcing unrealistic licensing on their rivals. The Justice Department concludes that only in rare cases should sales bans be implemented for patents of this nature.
Of course, just because the DoJ is ending their investigation doesn’t mean that they aren’t still keeping an eye of Samsung.
The Justice Department has been investigating Samsung’s use of standard-essential patents for years and pledges that it will continue to monitor further developments in this area. To be honest, the end of the investigation and even the overturn of the ITC’s ban has very little effect on the bigger picture of the Apple-Samsung war anyhow.
Samsung and Apple remain the number one and two smartphone makers globally, and still have patent disputes going on in over 10 countries. They even have a new trial scheduled to start in March of this year, but chief executives on both sides, Kwon Oh-hyun and Tim Cook, hope to find a resolution in mediation on February 19.
What do you think of Samsung and Apple’s continued patent war? Can the two companies reach some kind of patent licensing deal that will finally put an end to all of this, or are we doomed to endure this war for years to come?