According to a new report from Foss Patent, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit court has overruled part of Judge Lucy Koh‘s denial of a permanent injunction against Samsung‘s Android devices from the US. The reason given by Judge Koh at the time was that Apple failed to establish a “causal nexus” between the infringing features on Samsung‘s smartphones and consumers’ demand for these features.
Here’s part of the ruling (via FossPatent):
“We find no reason to dislodge the district court’s conclusion that Apple failed to demonstrate irreparable harm from Samsung’s infringement of its design patents. Accordingly, we affirm the denial of injunctive relief with respect to those patents. However, with respect to Apple’s utility patents, we conclude that the district court abused its discretion in its analysis and consequently remand for further proceedings.”
“The significance of today’s Federal Circuit opinion far transcends the three multi-touch software patents at issue in this case (rubber-banding, pinch-to-zoom API, tap-to-zoom-and-navigate),” Florian Mueller writes for Foss Patent. ” What really mattered strategically for Apple was the legal standard that would apply to such injunction requests. At the Apple v. Samsung trial scheduled for next spring, Apple will be asserting more powerful patents than in the first case, and after today’s ruling it will then be much more likely to be able to convert liability findings by a jury into a permanent injunction.”
“From a strategic point of view, it’s way more important for Apple to obtain injunctive relief over its utility patents than its design patents and trade dress,” Mueller explains. “It’s easy to design around design patents and trade dress, and for those types of intellectual property rights, damages are a substantial opportunity. Apple isn’t asserting any design patents or trade dress in the second California case against Samsung, so any changes in the standard for injunctive relief over such IPRs wouldn’t have had implications for next year’s post-trial proceedings.”
The take away line from the report is that it’s pointless for Apple “Thinking Different,” when competitors are free to copy their ideas.