Apple won a US sales injunction against certain Samsung devices, although specialist website FOSS Patents went as far as calling the victory “useless”.
The injunction forms part of a dispute which began some time ago, which means the devices involved are from the era of Galaxy S III, so there will be little impact on Samsung’s current business.
And one of the key patents involved expires on 1 February, which means that with Samsung having a 30-day “sunset period”, it is “now practically irrelevant from an injunction point of view”, FOSS Patents said.
Of the other patents involved, one has been ruled invalid by European courts, indicating that may not stand further investigation in the US, and only affects certain graphic elements of the slide-to-unlock mechanism as used in the oldest devices named in the suit.
Some time ago, Apple and Samsung dropped a number of lawsuits worldwide, after a prolonged period of to-and-fro which did not see any decisive victories.
But the US case was kept open.
FOSS Patents suggested that “at a meta level, [the ruling] does have some relevance”, because it indicates Apple could obtain an injunction when “only limited aspects of small features of highly multi-functional products” are in dispute.