Apple Appeals Samsung Injunction Ruling

| Analysis

Apple in CourtApple has appealed a ruling from Judge Lucy Koh denying the company a ban on some 26 Samsung devices that a jury found infringed six Apple patents. Apple has been expected to appeal the ruling, which was handed down on December 18th in post-trial proceedings in the case.

USA Today reported that Apple has filed its appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Judge Koh's ruling was based on her opinion that while the devices in questions—most of which are no longer even on the market—infringed on Apple's patents, none of the patents in question "covers a particular feature that actually drives consumer demand."

A potentially complicating wrinkle in the case is the fact that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has issued first Office actions that invalidate two of the patents Samsung was found to infringe. We say "potentially" because first Office actions have no bearing on the enforceability of a patent, and are rather the first procedural step in reviewing a patent based on a third party challenge.

Still, it could have some kind of impact on the case even in this early stage, and it certainly plays into the partisan echo chamber of Apple and Android fan fights.

Another aspect of this case and this appeal is something we mentioned above—most of the Samsung products found to infringe are no longer sold as a natural progression of the company's product cycle. A successful injunction, however, could be used as leverage in getting an injunction on other products.

For instance, there is a second case wending its way through U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal court, also in San Jose. That case involves many products that are currently shipping, including Samsung's very popular Galaxy S III.

Then again, that case isn't expected to go to trial until 2014, long after most of the products in the suit will also have been obsoleted by new products. Precedents matter in the U.S. legal system, however, and getting an injunction would represent a big win by Apple, just as no injunction represents a big win for Samsung.

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