Korean court rules on Apple v Samsung patent infringement

Reports are starting to come in that state Apple and Samsung have been found guilty of infringing on each others patents by a Korean court. Apple has been found guilty of infringing 2 patents and will be hit with an import ban and a $35,000 fine. Samsung is also facing a fine of $22,000 and a ban for infringing on Apple's elastic scrolling patent, but the court ruled they didn't copy Apple designs or violate their trade dress.

Details are scarce at the moment, coming entirely from tweets and fragments by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. We'll update as the news becomes clearer and more complete.

Update: Apple may have been found to have been infringing FRAND patents. These types of patents are different in kind from the proprietary patent Samsung was found to be infringing. FRAND stands for fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory, and are standards-essential -- in this case they involve technology required for a phone to use a cellular network. In order to become part of the standard, companies like Samsung agree to license them under FRAND terms. If a Korean court really let Samsung successfully attack Apple with FRAND patents, it's disturbing on a number of levels. Blogger and consultant Florian Mueller of FOSS patents has an informed, if decidedly anti-FRAND litigation view:

It would mean that foreign companies would either have to bow to Samsung's and LG's demands and, among other things, give up their own non-standard-essential intellectual property or stop selling in Korea. If I were Apple, I would defend myself vigorously and, if necessary, write off the Korean market until this issue is resolved through bilateral U.S.-Korea talks or at the level of the World Trade Organization.

Mueller calls it the declaration of a trade war, and also points out that, outside their native Korea, Samsung has consistently lost cases where they've tried to litigate FRAND patents.

All this to say, the Apple v Samsung case in Korea is bigger and more important than either Apple or Samsung.