John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Samsung Appeals Galaxy Nexus Injunction

Samsung’s response to the preliminary injunction granted to Apple last week against its Galaxy Nexus phone was both swift and obvious.

On Saturday, not 24 hours after the injunction was issued, Samsung filed a motion with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, seeking to stay it for the duration of its appeal. Among its arguments for doing so: Samsung contends that Apple hasn’t proven that the two companies are true rivals in the smartphone market, which is ludicrous, considering: A) Samsung surpassed Apple in the first quarter to become the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer; and: B) internally, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee has been calling upon his lieutenants to beat a certain “rival” in smartphones.

“The Court’s finding that Apple will suffer irreparable harm was based on legally insufficient evidence that Samsung and Apple are competitors,” Samsung said in its motion to stay the injunction as reported by FOSS Patents. “The Court’s order is inconsistent with the Federal Circuit’s directive that market share losses must be substantial.”

In other words, Samsung claims that regardless of whether the Nexus does or doesn’t infringe Apple’s IP, its sales haven’t had any ill effect on Apple. If Apple can’t prove the iPhone has lost market share to the Galaxy Nexus, then what are its damages — aside from a spike in its leadership’s blood pressure over what it alleges is “blatant copying”?

Thing is, when U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh granted the injunction, she ruled that the “risk” of harm was reason enough to support it.

“Apple has made a clear showing that, in the absence of a preliminary injunction, it is likely to lose substantial market share in the smartphone market and to lose substantial downstream sales of future smartphone purchases and tag-along products,” Koh wrote.

Koh’s view, then, is that the likelihood of irreparable harm is sufficient justification for the injunction. And Samsung’s legal team is going to have a tough time convincing her otherwise.

That said, it does have another angle to pursue here: To argue that Koh erred by defining the scope of Apple’s unified search patent too broadly. If it’s able to do so convincingly, and get the scope of the patent narrowed, it might then make the case that there was no infringement.

“The Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals, reverses about one-third of the time when it reviews how district courts interpret patent claims, so it is not a stretch at all to imagine the Federal Circuit disagreeing with Judge Koh’s definition of the patent’s scope,” Brian Love, a professor at Stanford Law School, told AllThingsD. “Samsung is unlikely to prevail on appeal if it cannot bring into question whether Apple’s patent is valid and infringed.”

Koh has scheduled a hearing for today on whether or not to stay the injunction pending appeal.

[Image credit: Kung Fu Cinema]


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