US judge sides with Apple in patent battle with Samsung

The patent battle between Samsung and Apple has now reached US shores, but so far the first legal confrontation has generated mixed results for both parties. Reuters reports that the judge in the case has ruled that Samsung has indeed violated some of Apple's patents. However, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh also ruled Apple must still prove that it has a valid right to the patents it claims it owns. There's no word yet on when or how Apple will try to prove its case.

Apple had asked the judge in the case to rule on its request for an injunction that would have banned the sales of some of Samsung's smartphones and tablets in the US, including the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and the recently released Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone. Koh decided not to rule on that request at that time but did say she would make her final decision "fairly promptly". However, she did remark on the similarities between the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple's iPad. Apple feels that Samsung copied the design of the Galaxy Tab from the iPad.

At one point during the hearing, Koh reportedly held both the Galaxy Tab and the iPad above her head and asked Samsung's lawyer, Kathleen Sullivan, if she could tell the difference between the two tablets. Sullivan, who was about 10 feet away from Koh, said, "Not at this distance your honor." That was enough for Apple spokeswoman Kristen Huguet to comment, "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."

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