Appeals court revives Apple's Samsung sales ban demand

Appeals court revives Apple’s Samsung sales ban demand

19 NOV 2013

Apple’s attempt to secure a US sales injunction for a number of Samsung mobile devices has been revived after an appeals court ordered a California judge to reconsider a verdict rejecting the possibility.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the court had abused its discretion when denying an injunction on Samsung devices that infringed several Apple patents in December last year.

Apple requested the injunction after the jury decision in August 2012 that ordered Samsung to pay $1.05 billion in damages to the iPhone maker for infringing three design and three utility patents.

Despite the damages award, Lucy Koh, the judge that oversaw the jury case, said Apple had not presented enough evidence that its patented features were critical to consumer demand for the iPhone, meaning a sales ban on the Samsung devices would be unjustified.

The appeals court upheld the decision not to impose an injunction for the design patent infringements but said an injunction on the utility patents should be reconsidered. The utility patents in question are the bounce-back feature when scrolling, multi-touch display, and double tap to zoom.

Reuters speculates that the favourable ruling by the appeals court is a positive sign for Apple, as it could strengthen its case for a sales injunction from a new trial about newer Samsung devices, scheduled to take place in April 2014.

In addition to rejecting the sales ban, Koh ruled in March this year that the calculations for the damages awarded the previous August contained some errors and so reduced the total by $450.5 million.

A retrial for the portion of damages that was removed is currently underway in San Jose, California. Koh, who is overseeing the retrial, was expected to instruct jurors that their sole role is to determine the amount of damages Samsung should pay for infringing the patents.

Apple and Samsung are competing to be the world’s dominant smartphone player, with Gartner figures showing Apple’s 12.1 per cent market share trails Samsung’s 32.1 per cent.

The patent war between the two firms, which started in spring 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of slavishly copying the design of its iPhone, has extended to numerous markets, including Australia, Germany and Japan.

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Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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