Appeals Court Gives Apple Another Shot At a Samsung Product Ban


Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will have another chance to win a permanent U.S. sales ban against some of Samsung’s  (SSNLF.PK) products after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to reconsider the iPhone maker’s request for an injunction, reports Reuters. Judge Koh refused Apple’s motion for a permanent ban on 26 Samsung products in December 2012.

However, the appeals court disagreed with the reasoning behind Judge Koh’s denial of a permanent injunction. Koh originally rejected Apple’s request for an injunction because the Cupertino-based company failed to show that consumers bought Samsung’s phones solely because of the patent-infringing features.

The appeals court’s ruling pointed out that Koh’s legal standard for granting an injunction was incorrect. “Rather than show that a patent feature is the exclusive reason for consumer demand, Apple must show some connection between the patented feature and demand for Samsung products,” noted the appeals court in its ruling reported by Reuters. The appeals court’s ruling covers three of Apple’s technical patents: the so-called “pinch-to-zoom” patent, the “rubber-banding” patent, and the “tap-to-zoom-and-navigate” patent. However, as noted by Foss Patents, the ruling upheld the “denial of injunctive relief” for Apple’s design patents.

The appeals court also noted that the district court overemphasized the importance of Apple’s licensing of the patents to other companies when it considered financial damages in lieu of an injunction. The appeals court judges noted that Samsung was unlike most other smartphone companies because it was Apple’s chief rival.

As noted by Reuters, most companies tend to prefer monetary verdicts over permanent sales bans. However, Samsung now faces the possibility of having to endure a sales ban as well as a financial penalty. “The district court abused its discretion by failing to properly analyze whether damages would adequately compensate Apple for Samsung’s (court emphasis) infringement of these patents (court emphasis),” wrote the appeals court as reported by Reuters.

Apple and Samsung are currently engaged in another trial in California’s Northern District that will determine a damages award over 13 Samsung products that were found to be infringing on five of Apple’s patents. Samsung has offered to pay Apple around $52 million in damages, but the iPhone maker is seeking $380 million. The damages retrial is a continuation of last year’s Apple v. Samsung case in which a jury determined that 26 of Samsung’s products infringed on Apple’s patents. The trial is scheduled to finish closing arguments on Tuesday, November 19.

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