Samsung nearly lost its right to manufacture and sell phones in China—but it scraped by thanks to an American judge’s ruling on Friday that will allow the tech giant to keep its foothold in the Chinese market.
Samsung is currently locked in a patent fight with Huawei, which alleges that Samsung is infringing on two of its patents related to the ETSI LTE protocol—a protocol that’s essential to any smartphone using LTE. A Chinese court previously sided with Huawei in the case and ordered Samsung to stop manufacturing and selling 4G LTE smartphones in the country.
According to court filings, Samsung’s Chinese manufacturing hubs have the second-largest output of any company worldwide—so being forced to stop manufacturing in the country could have sweeping ramifications on Samsung’s business.
However, Samsung won a reprieve in US District Court on Friday that will allow the company to continue manufacturing and selling in China while a separate legal dispute between Samsung and Huawei plays out in the US.
US District Court Judge William Orrick ruled that the Chinese court’s orders could render the US case meaningless, and so should be put on hold while the case proceeds.
Orrick also chastised both parties in the case for not finding a way to settle their differences.
“I will not recount the history of their failure to reach agreement in the ensuing years, since all of the information has been filed under seal, except to wonder aloud how it can be in the interest of these important multi-national corporations to slog through unending litigation around the globe rather than figure out a process to resolve their differences if agreement is impossible,” Orrick wrote. [Bloomberg]