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Apple v. Samsung: U.S. Patent Fight Appealed to Federal Circuit

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Apple, Inc. has appealed a federal judge’s denial of an injunction that would have prevented Samsung Electronics Co. from selling an array of products that were found to infringe upon several of Apple’s patents.

It is the latest move in the closely watched global patent fight between the world’s top two smartphone manufacturers.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Aug. 27 ruled that Samsung could continue selling the Galaxy S3 smartphone and nine other older smartphone models in the United States, even though a federal jury agreed with Apple’s contention that the models in question violated its patents. In May 2014, that jury awarded $119.6 million in damages against Samsung.

The patents which the jury found Samsung to have violated cover user-interface designs for the iOS software used by iPhones and iPads, specifically those covering the autocorrect, “slide to unlock,” and “quick link” features found in both Apple’s iOS and the Google Android operating system used on the Samsung phones. Apple had sought $2.2 billion in damages against Samsung.

For a second time, however, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh found that Apple had failed to demonstrate any material harm to its business prospects as a result of the infringing Samsung products. Koh also was the judge in a 2012 patent infringement case in which Apple won a $1.05 billion judgment against Samsung for violating patents related to the physical appearance of the iPhone.

Then, as now, Apple sought an injunction to prevent Samsung from selling the infringing devices, but Judge Koh found that Apple failed to show that the infringing patented features drove consumer demand for the Samsung products. Apple appealed Koh’s refusal to grant the injunction in the earlier case but gave up that appeal in July 2014.

Apple’s strong third quarter financial report, which included healthy iPhone sales figures, may have influenced Koh’s most recent decision, CNet reported.

Apple’s decision to appeal, rather than give up the fight as some observers had speculated, will send the case to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the same court that hears all the patent cases escalated from the Patent Trial and Appeals Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Bloomberg News noted that despite years of costly litigation, neither of the two companies have won any decisions that have harmed the other’s sales. Even as their legal battle drags on in the U.S.— the two companies agreed earlier this year to end their patent-related legal clashes in various international jurisdictions—Samsung and Apple remain close business partners. Samsung manufactures a number of crucial components used in Apple’s devices.

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Categories: Intellectual Property, News

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