If you have read any Apple-related news lately, chances are it was about the company’s much hyped upcoming product launches. As you may have heard, Apple has scheduled a media event near its Cupertino, California headquarters on September 9, where it is widely expected that the company will unveil two new iPhone models with larger screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The company is also rumored to be unveiling its so-called “iWatch” wearable tech product. However, while Apple is ostensibly focused on the future as it prepares to share its latest technological innovations with the public, the company is also continuing to fight its long-running patent-infringement battle against its biggest rival: Samsung.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh denied Apple’s motion for a permanent injunction that would have placed a sales ban on several of Samsung’s products, reports FOSS Patents. Apple’s motion was a continuation of the last patent-infringement trial that wrapped up in May of this year. In that case, Apple won $119.6 million in damages from Samsung for the Korea-based company’s infringement of three patents. However, despite the win, the verdict was widely viewed as a mixed result for Apple since the award amount was far below the $2.2 billion in damages the company was seeking. Even worse — from Apple’s perspective — Samsung was able to secure its own damages award of $158,400 for Apple’s infringement of one of its patents.
Along with the approximately $930 million in damages that Apple won from Samsung in a previous patent-infringement trial in California, the company that revolutionized the smartphone market with its iPhone has been awarded over $1 billion in damages from Samsung in U.S. courts. This is why Apple made sure to exclude U.S.-based litigation from the truce that it reached with Samsung in August of this year. “Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” said the companies in a joint statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”
However, while Apple has won sizeable damages awards in U.S. courts, the company has been far less successful in securing sales bans against Samsung’s infringing devices. This makes many of Apple’s court victories hollow since Samsung is able to keep reaping the profits from what Apple considers illegitimate products. Since the patent-infringement cases tend to move much slower than the smartphone market, it’s also not clear that a successful sales ban bid would have had much effect on Samsung anyway. For example, one of the Samsung products that would have been banned if Apple’s motion had been successful would have been the Galaxy S3. Samsung’s current flagship device is the Galaxy S5, and it has several new devices launching later this year.
One reason Apple has been largely unsuccessful in securing a sales ban against Samsung is due to the requirement that it must prove it suffered irreparable harm caused by the infringement. “Apple has not satisfied its burden of demonstrating irreparable harm and linking that harm to Samsung’s exploitation of any of Apple’s three infringed patents,” wrote Judge Koh in her order denying Apple’s motion. “Apple has not established that it suffered significant harm in the form of either lost sales or reputational injury. Moreover, Apple has not shown that it suffered any of these alleged harms because Samsung infringed Apple’s patents.”
While Judge Koh’s recent ruling is a setback for Apple, the company’s long-running court battle against its biggest rival is far from over. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Apple revealed in a court filing on Friday that it will be appealing the ruling to the Washington D.C.-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In the meantime, media coverage will likely remain focused on Apple’s upcoming showcase event for its latest generation of products. Whether or not these new products become the centerpieces of yet another patent-infringement trial against Samsung in the future remains to be seen.
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