Appeals Court Rules Judge Must Reconsider Banning Samsung Devices for Apple Patent Violations
The appeals court ruled unanimously that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., made errors last year when she denied Apple's request for a court injunction against 26 Samsung products.During the original Apple v. Samsung trial, Apple requested an injunction to prevent Samsung from selling its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets within the United States. Koh denied Apple's request, suggesting there was no evidence Apple would suffer irreparable harm if Samsung was able to continue selling its products.
The court said parts of Judge Koh's ruling against Apple were correct, but it said the judge should spend more time considering evidence offered by the iPhone maker to support arguments that Apple is being irreparably harmed by Samsung's patent infringement.
Koh did issue preliminary injunctions against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Tab, but the appeals court later reversed the ban on the Galaxy Nexus.
While today's appeals court ruling upholds Koh's original decision disallowing Apple from requesting an injunction based on design patents, it does allow for a possible injunction on Samsung products based on Apple's utility patents, such as the "Steve Jobs patent" and Apple's "rubber banding" patent covering bounce back.
With both stronger patents and the possibility of an injunction, Apple will have a good case for a Samsung product ban during its second infringement lawsuit that will cover more recent Samsung products like the Galaxy S III, and the Galaxy Note II, among other products. Though the injunction Koh must reconsider dates back to the 2011 lawsuit and covers older products, it would also affect newer devices with a similar infringement pattern.
The second trial will begin in 2014 and is separate from the current ongoing trial, in which Samsung will be forced to pay close to $1 billion in damages following the conclusion of this week's damages retrial.