Intellectual Property | Shares Plunge After Copyright Infringement

Shares in South Korean giant Samsung plunged after a US court ruled last Friday that they had stolen designs from Apple to make smartphones and computer tablets and awarded them to pay Apple $1.05bn in damages.

The shares plummeted up to 8 per cent yesterday, the biggest one-day fall since the beginning of the financial crisis, amid threats that Apple will attempt to block sales of Samsung products in America via an injunction it intends to take out at a court hearing on September 20.

Analysts say the ruling is one of the most significant in a global battle over intellectual property. In recent weeks, a court in South Korea ruled that both technology firms had copied each other, while a British court threw out claims by the Apple that Samsung had infringed its copyright.

But the year-long US case has involved some of the biggest damages claims and the American court found that Samsung had infringed six out of seven Apple patents in dispute and did so willfully in five of the cases.

Samsung described the ruling as “a loss for the American consumer”, saying it will “lead to fewer choices, less innovation and potentially higher prices”, but shares in Nokia rose by 10 per cent yesterday at the news.

Last night, Apple applied for eight other models, mostly in the Galaxy S2 range, to be restricted from sale in the US. Despite yesterday’s slide, Samsung’s shares are still 75 per cent higher over the past year as soaring smartphone sales power record profits. Its phones and tablets now account for more than two-thirds of the group’s profits.

And the South Korean firm has vowed to keep fighting and has said it will appeal.  On the company’s website, an internal memo said: “We will continue to do our utmost until our arguments have been accepted.”

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Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London