Tag Archives: injunction

Judge denies Apple injunction for patent infringements by Samsung, sets worrying precedent


I know, your eyes are probably glazing over by now at yet another Apple v. Samsung patent story. It seems scarcely a week goes by without one of the two companies winning a point, losing a point, filing an appeal, winning an appeal, losing an appeal or applying for some kind of court order. And if you were losing count, the latest news reported by FOSS Patents that a California court has rejected Apple’s application for an injunction against Samsung still relates to the original patent battle between the two companies which began back in 2011.

Apple was originally awarded almost a billion dollars in damages for patent infringements by Samsung. Apple had argued that monetary damages were insufficient, and that the court should also have ordered that the infringing products be withdrawn from sale … 

Given that the products in question are now obsolete, you might think this was somewhat academic three years on. But Apple didn’t care about obtaining this particular injunction. What it wanted was to establish the precedent that it is not always enough to award damages when Samsung is found to have infringed an Apple patent – sometimes the only acceptable response is to remove the Samsung product from sale. If Apple had established that point, it would be in a far stronger position with the next round of patent battles about to begin.

Judge Lucy Koh rejected the call for an injunction, however, arguing in essence that the patent infringements were not the reason consumers bought the Samsung products, and that Apple would gain too much of a competitive advantage if competitor products were withdrawn from sale.

To award an injunction to Apple in these circumstances would ignore the Federal Circuit’s warning that a patentee may not ”leverage its patent for competitive gain beyond that which the inventive contribution and value of the patent warrant.”

The precedent suggests that the likely outcome of future patent infringement cases between the two companies will be similarly limited to financial damages rather than product injunctions.

Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple v Samsung, Apple vs Samsung, California, injunction, Lucy H Koh, Lucy Koh, Patent, patents, Samsung, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

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Apple officially appeals in ebook pricing case

Apple has filed its appeal against federal judge Denise Cote’s verdict in the ebook pricing case. Apple seeks to overturn Judge Cote’s July verdict that it conspired with publishers to fix ebook prices, as well as the September 6 injunction that prohibits Apple from including most-favored-nation clauses in its ebook contracts for five years and requires it to be monitored by a court-appointed external monitor.

The notice of the appeal was filed with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals late Thursday, but I’m told Apple doesn’t have to submit its formal arguments until early 2014.

It’s fair to assume, however, that Apple will bring up many of the same issues it raised in an August letter to Judge Cote, in which it outlined the arguments it planned to raise on appeal. For instance, it argued that the court excluded or disregarded crucial evidence from various witnesses, “disregarded serious credibility issues with the Google and Amazon witnesses” and excluded information about Amazon’s “internal business deliberations” from discovery.

Separately, publisher Simon & Schuster is appealing just the injunction in the case. Simon & Schuster was one of the first publishers to settle with the Department of Justice back in 2012, but Judge Cote’s injunction against Apple puts Simon & Schuster — and the four other settling publishers — at a disadvantage by significantly extending the amount of time that the publishers are required to allow Apple to discount their ebooks. Under the injunction, Simon & Schuster will not be allowed to negotiate new contracts with Apple for at least three more years.

In August, Simon & Schuster and the other settling publishers had argued that such requirements would “unreasonably and unnecessarily [restrain] the Settling Defendants’ independent business decisions beyond the scope and time provided for” in their settlements.

This story was updated several times on Friday. An earlier version of the story referred to “the amount of time that publishers are required to allow discounting of their ebooks,” rather than specifying that the injunction extends the amount of time that publishers are required to allow Apple to discount their ebooks.

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EU Commission says Motorola’s injunction against Apple in Germany amounts to abuse, prohibited by antitrust law

European-CommissionAs if we needed someone to tell us that the ongoing patent lawsuits between Apple and Motorola in Germany were getting a little out of control… Today the European Commission has finally stepped up calling Motorola’s enforcement of an injunction against Apple with mobile standard essential patents “abuse of a dominant position prohibited by EU antitrust rules.” The EU Commission, however, does note that the statement of objections sent to Motorola does not reflect the final outcome of its investigation into its use of standard essential patents (SEPs):

The Motorola Mobility SEPs in question relate to the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute’s (ETSI) GPRS standard, part of the GSM standard, which is a key industry standard for mobile and wireless communications. When this standard was adopted in Europe, Motorola Mobility gave a commitment that it would license the patents which it had declared essential to the standard on FRAND terms. Nevertheless, Motorola Mobility sought an injunction against Apple in Germany on the basis of a GPRS SEP and, after the injunction was granted, went on to enforce it, even when Apple had declared that it would be willing to be bound by a determination of the FRAND royalties by the German court.

The EU Commission essentially states that Apple should be able to license the technology under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms decided by a third-party, and that Motorola’s approach with its latest injunction could “distort licensing negotiations and impose unjustified licensing terms.” Back in February of 2012, Apple was for a short while forced to remove all 3G devices from its online store in Germany following the injunction, and at the time Apple noted that “Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.”

Today’s Statement of Objections sets out the Commission’s preliminary view that under the specific circumstances of this case – a previous commitment to license SEPs on FRAND terms and the agreement of Apple to accept a binding determination of the terms of a FRAND licence for SEPs by a third party – recourse to injunctions harms competition. The Commission is concerned that the threat of injunctions can distort licensing negotiations and lead to licensing terms that the licensee of the SEP would not have accepted absent this threat. This would lead to less consumer choice.

The Commission will not come to a final decision in the investigation, which was originally opened in April of 2012 following the injunction in Germany, until both parties have had an opportunity to enter a defence. It could then possibly “issue a decision prohibiting the conduct and impose a fine of up to 10 % of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.”

(via TNW)

Nokia submits amicus brief in support of Apple’s bid to block sale of Samsung products

According to a report from Reuters, Nokia has this week become the first company to submit an amicus brief in support of Apple’s attempt to secure injunctions on several Samsung products. While the full contents of the brief have not yet been revealed, Reuters reports Nokia argued its position in a summary of the brief that was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington on Monday.

In an accompanying summary, however, Nokia argued that a trial court judge got it wrong when she denied Apple’s request for a permanent injunction.

In the filing on Monday, Nokia attorney Keith Broyles from Alston & Bird argued that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, erred by ruling that Apple must establish a “causal nexus” between its patented feature and the demand for its phones in order to secure a permanent injunction.

Nokia argued that the rule “could cause wide-ranging damage to the United States patent protection landscape.”

Companies and advocacy groups will still be able to submit briefs on behalf of Samsung after the company’s written arguments in the coming weeks. Nokia said its decision to submit the brief is to “advocate for patent rights as a means of fostering innovation.” 

“Nokia has recently been involved in numerous U.S. patent lawsuits, as both a plaintiff and defendant,” Broyles wrote. “Nokia is thus both a significant patent owner that might seek an injunction to protect its patent rights, and a manufacturer in an industry in which patent owners routinely issue threats of injunctions for patent infringement.”

US court reverses Apple’s injunction on Samsung Galaxy Nexus

U.S. Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone in June, and the decision resulted in the temporary removal of the device from Google Play pending a software fix with Android 4.1. Today, Reuters reported that Apple’s U.S. injunction on the Galaxy Nexus has been reversed. TheNextWeb got its hands on the official order:

Samsung argued, somewhat humiliatingly, that the sales of the Galaxy Nexus were so poor that they didn’t pose a threat to Apple’s iPhone and that the unified search feature was not essential to the success of its device. The appeals court apparently agrees, as it states in its official order:

…it may very well be that the accused product would sell almost as well without incorporating the patented feature. And in that case, even if the competitive injury that results from selling the accused device is substantial, the harm that flows from the alleged infringement (the only harm that should count) is not.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled the court “abused its discretion in entering an injunction” and will send the case back to the California court for consideration.

On the heels of patent victory, Apple looks to ban 8 Samsung devices

Just days after winning a jury verdict over Samsung and $1.05 billion in damages for patent infringement, Apple is looking to get at least eight Samsung mobile products banned for sale in the U.S., according to a court filing on Monday. All of the Android devices Apple is targeting were found to have infringed on at least one Apple design patent, utility patent or Apple’s trade dress.

The devices at issue are:

  • Galaxy S 4G
  • Galaxy S2 AT&T
  • Galaxy S2 Skyrocket
  • Galaxy S2 T-Mobile
  • Galaxy S2 Epic 4G
  • Galaxy S Showcase
  • Droid Charge
  • Galaxy Prevail

Most of those devices on this list were found to infringe two or three Apple patents, according to the verdict reached Friday night in California. Apple’s decision to get these products pulled off of store shelves here in the U.S. looks to be a strategic move and not simply a symbolic one: all of them, with the exception of the Galaxy S 4G, are still for sale in the U.S. Before the trial, Apple successfully obtained an injunction on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and the Galaxy Nexus; though the Tab was already an out-of-date product when the injunction was placed.

There is still much more to come in this case, including the judge’s decision to allow Samsung to still sell these products. Apple can also ask for ongoing infringement damages if these offending devices remain on the market and Samsung does not obtain a license, my colleague Jeff Roberts wrote after the verdict was announced on Friday.

Samsung Files 700 Pre-Trial Juror Questions, Apple Files 49

Ok, guys, let’s try to even these up.

Both Samsung and Apple filed pre-trial juror screening questionnaires with the US District Court that is handling the patent dispute originally filed by Apple agains Samsung. Potential jurors will have to answer close to 750 questions unless Judge Koh, the District Judge who has been handling this case, asks for some winnowing of the number of questions. 49 of those questions are from Apple, with the remaining 700 filed by Samsung. That’s six pages to forty pages, respectively.

If Judge Koh sticks to her previous actions of asking for both parties to narrow their focus for the trial, she could indeed ask Samsung to come up with a few less than 700 pre-trial questions.

As reported on Electronista today, perhaps the huge number of questions is an attempt by Samsung to confuse non-savvy jurors, or just another way to delay the proceedings, something Samsung has been hand-slapped for already.

Three of Samsung’s questions, says Electronista, relate to the ownership or use of Apple products, a fairly obvious strategy to omit such users from a jury trial. In another transparent move, Samsung asks, “Do you think many Asian companies steal what others have created and sell products based on copied innovation?” Wow, really?

For its part, Apple asks potential jurors about their impressions from the media coverage generated so far, as well as their views on the US patent system. There is also a question asking if potential jurors have ever had an idea stolen, or been accused of stealing an idea, which fairly illuminates the company’s strategic viewpoint right there, doesn’t it?

Interestingly, none of the questions asked are about technical ability, other than a query on mobile system and device preference.

Judge Koh is scheduled to rule on the fitness of the questionnaires before next week; I hope we get some pithy comment on the length of Samsung’s form, to be honest.

Via: Electronista