Samsung ends push to block Apple in Europe after U.S. ruling

Samsung Electronics Co. will withdraw patent lawsuits seeking to block sales of Apple Inc. products as part of litigation in Europe, hours after a U.S. court ruled it wouldn’t halt sales of some Samsung smartphones.

Samsung will unilaterally withdraw its request for injunctions against Apple in Germany, U.K., France, Italy and the Netherlands, a senior official at the company said.

Samsung and Apple, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, have traded victories in their patent disputes fought over four continents since the Cupertino, California-based company last year accused Asia’s biggest electronics maker of “slavishly copying” its devices. The companies, competing for dominance of the global smartphone market estimated by Bloomberg Industries at $219 billion last year, are fighting patent battles even as Apple remains Samsung’s biggest customer.

“Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice,” the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.

Apple Shares

Apple shares rose 1.1 percent to $524.62 at 9:47 a.m. in New York today. Alan Hely, a spokesman for Apple in London, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and a phone call seeking comment.

Samsung shares rose 0.8 percent in Seoul today following the U.S. ruling and before the company’s announcement on the European cases. The increase came after two days of losses, extending its gain for the year to 43.2 percent.

Apple’s request for a U.S. sales ban on 26 Samsung devices was rejected by a federal judge yesterday following a California jury verdict in August finding infringement of six of the iPhone maker’s patents that awarded Apple $1.05 billion.

Apple failed to establish that consumer demand for Samsung products was driven by technology it stole, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, said in her ruling yesterday. She said it wasn’t in the public interest to bar Samsung’s devices because the infringing elements constituted a limited part of Samsung’s phones.

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