The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday again rejected Apple’s bid to ban Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone ahead of a court trial in 2014.
A three-judge panel had already denied the request in October 2012. Apple then asked the full court (nine judges) to revisit that decision. It rejected the request in a brief order, without providing an explanation.
Apple filed this case in February 2012. The iPhone-maker claimed the Nexus uses tools that copy the way that its software, ‘Siri’, searches the Internet and mobile devices. The dispute is separate from the one in which Samsung was fined $1.05 billion for patent infringement last year.
In June 2012, Judge Lucy Koh issued an injunction ahead of a trial set to begin in March 2014, saying she believed the Nexus infringed Apple’s patents. Such pre-trial injunctions are rarely granted in the US.
Then, in October 2012, the US appeals court overturned the sales ban. The court said Apple had failed to show that consumers bought Samsung’s phone because of features that incorporated the allegedly infringing technology.
This was the first time a US court had applied the standard, which sets a high bar for patent owners to secure preliminary injunctions.
The appeals court’s second rejection of the sales ban confirms that it will be harder for Apple to obtain an injunction in lawsuits against Samsung, said Jim Kulbaski, partner at Oblon Spivak.
“It means there will continue to be a stalemate between the companies, unless the law changes.”
He said it remains unclear whether providing a link between consumer behaviour and infringement extends to permanent injunctions, as the Nexus case covered only a preliminary injunction.
“Overall, this case reflects an interesting and important point of US patent law,” he added.
Judge Koh, who issued the initial injunction in the Nexus dispute, cited the subsequent rejection of the sales ban when she refused to implement a separate sales ban against several other Samsung phones. Apple had tried to permanently ban these phones, which a jury in August 2012 found infringed the company’s patents, in the US.
In more post-trial motions delivered on January 29, Koh refused to extend the $1.05 billion damages she awarded Apple.
Both Apple and Samsung declined to comment on the Thursday’s ruling.
This article was first published on 01 February 2013 in World IP Review
apple. samsung, galaxy nexus, us court of appeals, lucy koh