Ina Fried

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Apple Wins Order Barring Sales of Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone

In another major patent victory on Friday, Apple won an order barring the Galaxy Nexus, a phone designed by Google and manufactured by Samsung.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Apple is likely to be able to prove at trial that the Galaxy Nexus infringes on four Apple patents, though the injunction is based specifically on one particular patent, the so-called ’604 patent, which covers core voice and search functionality.

The ruling was issued minutes ago by Koh in San Jose. The injunction becomes effective as soon as Apple posts a $95.6 million bond securing against the damages Samsung would incur if the injunction were found to have been wrongfully issued.

Koh’s ruling prevents Samsung from selling the Galaxy Nexus or any other product that is “no more than colorably different” and infringes on the Apple patent in question. However, Koh set a hearing for Monday morning to decide whether to put the injunction on hold pending an appeal by Samsung.

It follows an order by Koh earlier this week that would halt sales of another Samsung product, the Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The Galaxy Nexus is strategically important to Google as its lead device for Ice Cream Sandwich and for being the phone given to I/O developers this week to test out Jelly Bean, the next version of Android. Google said that the Galaxy Nexus would be among the first devices to receive the final release of Jelly Bean.

Asked for comment, Apple reiterated a past statement.

“It’s no coincidence that Samsung’s latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging,” Apple said. “This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we’ve said many times before, we need to protect Apple’s intellectual property when companies steal our ideas.”

Google’s reaction, as delivered by a spokesperson: “We’re disappointed with this decision, but we believe the correct result will be reached as more evidence comes to light.”

Samsung officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Regarding the ’604 patent, Koh wrote: “The Court is persuaded by the evidence in the record that the ’604 unified search functionality drives consumer demand in a way that affects substantial market share. Even accepting Samsung’s argument that the intelligent voice-recognition aspect of Siri, as advertised, also contributes to consumer interest in the iPhone 4S, Apple has shown that the ’604 Patented feature is core to Siri’s functionality and is thus a but-for driver of demand for Siri. Accordingly, the Court finds that Apple has adequately established the requisite causal nexus between Samsung’s alleged infringement of the ’604 Patent and Apple’s risk of suffering irreparable harm.”

Koh went on to say Apple is more likely to suffer hardship if sales are allowed to continue as compared to what Samsung will suffer if sales are halted.

“Although Samsung will necessarily be harmed by being forced to withdraw its product from the market before the merits can be determined after a full trial, the harm faced by Apple absent an injunction is greater,” Koh said. “Apple’s interest in enforcing its patent rights is particularly strong because it has presented a strong case on the merits. As discussed above, Apple has shown a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of all four of its asserted patents. Apple has further shown a likelihood of irreparable harm attributable to Samsung’s infringement of the ’604 Patent if the injunction does not issue. Samsung, by contrast, does not present any evidence of what hardship it will suffer if the injunction issues.”

Image credit: Abdel Ibrahim

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