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Apple will drop Galaxy S III Mini from Samsung patent suit

Apple Inc. agreed to drop Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S III Mini from a patent-infringement lawsuit against the South Korea-based company, according to court records.

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) said it agreed to withdraw the smartphone from its case because Samsung assured the court the phone won’t be sold in the United States, according to a filing Friday in federal court in San Jose. The filing, which follows an August verdict in the same court in Apple’s favor on other infringement claims, comes in a second patent case between the two companies, scheduled for trial in 2014.

Apple will withdraw the Galaxy S III Mini “given Samsung’s representation that it is not making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing that product into the U.S.,” according to the filing. Apple claims that the smartphone is available for sale through Amazon.com, and said it will agree to drop its claims against the Galaxy S III Mini only if Samsung’s assurances remain true.

In the earlier case, a jury decided Aug. 24 at the end of a trial that Samsung should pay $1.05 billion for infringing six Apple patents. Apple awaits a decision from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on its request for additional damages against Samsung for infringement after the iPhone maker lost its bid to block U.S. sales on 26 of the Galaxy maker’s devices. Apple failed to establish that consumer demand for Samsung products was driven by technology it stole, Koh ruled.

At a Dec. 6 hearing, Apple asked Koh to increase the damages awarded by the jury by $536 million, while Samsung said the verdict should be reduced by more than $600 million. Koh hasn’t ruled on the matter.

Samsung and Apple, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, have each scored victories in their patent disputes fought over four continents since Cupertino, California-based Apple accused Asia’s biggest electronics maker of “slavishly copying” its devices. The companies are competing for dominance of a global mobile-device market estimated by Yankee Group at $346 billion this year.

Samsung, facing an antitrust probe by European regulators, has said it will halt efforts to block sales of Apple products in Europe.

Newer smartphones made by both companies, including Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Apple’s iPhone 5, have been added to the case set for trial in 2014.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, declined to comment.

The case is Apple v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 12-cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

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