Earlier this month, the longstanding battle between Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Ltd. (SSNLF) appeared to have come to an end when the former was awarded $119.6 million. But apparently the meager monetary victory did not mean much to Apple, and it has submitted a fresh proposal on Friday for a permanent injunction on Samsung's products in the US. This marks the third time that the iPhone maker is seeking an injunction on the Korean company’s products, having failed twice previously.
Apple has claimed in the latest court filing that monetary damages were not enough, arguing that it would suffer “irreparable harm” if Samsung continues to infringe patents. Apple now wants a permanent injunction, barring Samsung from selling nine of its devices in the US. Since new devices were not part of the trial, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has asked US District Judge Lucy Koh to ban devices with software capable of implementing the features in question. These features include ‘slide-to-unlock,’ ‘quick-linking,’ and ‘autocorrect,’ all of which infringed Apple's patents.
The last two pleas for a ban were rejected on the grounds that the features did not affect consumers’ purchasing decisions. Apple had renewed its request to ban Samsung's phones at the end of last year, claiming that the Korean smartphone maker continues to violate patents. Given the jury’s mixed verdict at the start of this month, it does not come as a surprise that Apple is once again looking to press the issue.
While both giants fight to dominate the approximately $338 billion market, they are losing share in the global smartphone market. According to Strategy Analytics, Samsung's market share declined from 32.4% in the first quarter of 2013 to 31.2% in the first quarter of 2014, whereas Apple's fell from 17.5% to 15.3% during the same period. The two giants continue to face competition from local vendors, who have made inroads with cheaper phones and specifications as good as those of high-end ones.
Smaller smartphone manufactures are gaining traction in Europe as well, posing stiff competition to established players. French smartphone maker Wiko is gaining popularity in the European handset market, while Xiaomi is making inroads in China. According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Wiko witnessed triple-digit growth across Europe while Huawei saw 123% growth in Europe's five biggest markets in the past year.
As far as operating systems are concerned, Android remains the most popular one with more than 70% of the market.
It is highly unlikely that Judge Lucy Koh will ban Samsung’s products. The battleground has changed anyway, and it is the threat from new vendors that needs Apple’s and Samsung’s immediate attention.
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