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California court denies Apple injunction against Samsung products

updated 04:03 pm EDT, Wed August 27, 2014

Motion involved infamous 'slide to unlock' patent, others

The US District Court for the Northern District of California has again denied Apple a permanent injunction against Samsung products accused of violating three of its patents. Although the court and a jury found that Samsung did indeed infringe Apple IP -- including the famous "slide to unlock" patent -- the judge in the case, Lucy Koh, explains that Apple couldn't show that an injunction was warranted. The ruling is related to one of the post-trial motions stemming from the second Apple-Samsung patent trial. Koh also denied any injunctions on products found guilty of infringing from the first trial as well.

She rejects, for instance, an Apple assertion that claimed reputational harm didn't require showing a "causal nexus" stemming from patent infringement. "Even if harm will be done to Apple's reputation, Apple is not entitled to an injunction if that harm originates from some source other than Samsung's infringing behavior," part of the ruling states. "For example, it is possible that Apple's reputation as an 'innovator' could be harmed if Samsung's noninfringing features are perceived as innovative, but that would not justify an injunction."

Likewise, Apple is also said to have been unable to prove that it will suffer irreparable harm if infringing products are left on the market, and that action should be taken simply because a company closely safeguards its patents and Samsung violated the patents. Infringing Samsung products in the case are said to include the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S III, and the Stratosphere.

Apple attempted to make its motion more viable by targeting specific features in nine devices. It also offered a "sunset period" to Samsung, which would've granted a chance to design around any infringing concepts.

Many if not most of the products in question are already outdated, rendering the matter largely moot -- but Apple wanted to set the precedent as a deterrent to future infringement. In consistently denying any sales injunctions even in the case of clear guilt, Judge Koh may in fact be sending, however inadvertently, the opposite message to Samsung and other companies.

In part this is not reflective of Judge Koh, but of the judicial process itself. Due to the short life-cycle of devices like smartphones, companies who infringe have little incentive to change their ways -- by the time even the first court trial is over, the infringing product has made its profits and is likely already off the market or will be by the time appeals are exhausted.

Previously, Judge Koh also denied Apple its attempt to recover attorneys' fees on top of the $120 million the jury awarded the company in the latest round of patent infringement. She did, however, rebuff Samsung's attempt to invalidate the patents it was found guilty of infringing.

by MacNN Staff



  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    Products change so quickly it will be impossible for any company to get an injunction against products found to be legally violating patents, especially with judges like we have. The courts are sending a message that it doesn't really matter to them what is happening because they're only going to give lip service to any patent violation. Samsung used Apple patents to get where they are and continue to use Apple designs and patents because they know they won't have to pay anything except the salaries of their lawyers.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Not to mention that by the time the judge rules that an injunction would be warranted, the products covered under the injunction are old models and no longer being sold, making the injunction largely moot.

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-01-08

    I think Apple should not bother patenting anything .... they should just steal other people's IP like Samsung and Google. The judicial system and the corporate culture in America and the rest of the World seems to reward these kinds of players .... this way, instead of spending money with the USPTO, they just allocate that money to their legal team, which should hopefully be the best in the world. It's obvious to everyone that this whole patent system is entirely bogus ..... if you can't enforce them, then what's the point?

  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    The patent system is dead and was killed by Koh. We now live in the same environment that the clothing industry/fashion industry is in. Your intellectual property belongs to whoever has deep pockets and takes it from you just like the school bully who takes your lunch money.

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