Apple scores legal victory over Samsung in South Korea

Men pose with Apple iPhone 4 smartphone in photo illustration in Zenica
Men are silhouetted against a video screen with an Samsung logo as they pose with an Apple iPhone 4 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday lost its bid to ban sales of Apple Inc's older iPhone and iPad in South Korea after a court dismissed a lawsuit claiming the U.S. firm had infringed on three of Samsung's mobile patents.

The lawsuit was part of the tech giants' global courtroom battle dating to 2011, when Apple first sued Samsung for copying the look and feel of its iconic iPhone and iPad.

A judge at the Seoul Central District Court said Apple products such as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPad2 did not violate Samsung patents on short message display methods and messaging grouping features.

The court ruled against a sale ban on the products and threw out Samsung's claim for 100 million won ($95,100) in damages.

"We are glad the Korean court joined others around the world in standing up for real innovation and rejecting Samsung's ridiculous claims," Apple Korea spokesman Steve Park said.

Samsung said it would thoroughly review the ruling before deciding to whether to appeal.

"As Apple has continued to infringe our patented mobile technologies, we will continue to take the measures necessary to protect our intellectual property rights," Samsung said in a statement.

In a separate ruling in August last year, the same court ordered Apple to pay Samsung 40 million won in damages for infringing two of the South Korean firm's wireless technology patents.

In the same ruling, Samsung was fined 25 million won for violating a patent relating to the so-called bouncing-back function used when scrolling electronic documents.

Thursday's ruling comes after a Mannheim court in Germany dismissed Apple's claim that Samsung infringed on a utility patent that pertains to a multi-language function used in smartphones.

Apple and Samsung have gone to trial twice in the past two years in a San Jose, California federal court, where juries have awarded Apple roughly $930 million in damages.

Shares in Samsung, worth around $221 billion, closed down 0.7 percent on Thursday, versus a 0.5 percent drop in the wider market.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates, Matt Driskill and Jeremy Laurence)

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