Appeals Court Says Apple can Block Patent Infringing Samsung Smartphones

A US Appeals Court gave Apple's patent infringement battle a boost on Thursday when it ruled that the iPhone and iPad maker should be able to enforce an injunction blocking the sale of certain Samsung Android-based smartphones and tablets. The ruling stems from Apple's 2014 win where a Federal court ruled Samsung infringed on several of its mobile device patents.

Appeals Court gives injunction against Samsung's mobile devices a thumbs upAppeals Court gives injunction against Samsung's mobile devices a thumbs up

Should the ruling stand up to Samsung's inevitable appeal, the company could be forced to stop selling some of its devices in the United States. The Judges who reviewed the case stated,

Samsung's infringement harmed Apple by causing lost market share and lost downstream sales and by forcing Apple to compete against its own patented invention.

The panel went on to say that the California court where the case was originally heard abused its discretion by refusing to "enjoin Samsung's infringement," according to the Wall Street Journal.

This appeal is tied to the second patent infringement case where Apple was awarded US$120 million in damages. An earlier case was an even bigger win for Apple where a Federal Jury awarded the company $1.1 billion in damages—an amount that was later lowered to $930 million.

The jury in the first Apple v Samsung case ruled Apple didn't infringe on any patents, although in the second case a jury awarded Samsung $158,000 and said that Apple was infringing. Apple pushed for an injunction blocking the sale of Samsung's infringing devices in the U.S., but the court refused.

Most of the devices named in the lawsuit are old enough that they're no longer available, so an injunction wouldn't have a noticeable impact on Samsung's sales. It would, however, create an opportunity to push to include current Samsung devices with the same infringing features to be added to the injunction.

Apple's win also puts the company in a stronger legal position for future patent infringement lawsuits. Judge Kimberly Moore, one of the judges on the appeals panel, said ruling against Apple would "virtually foreclose the possibility" of other companies winning injunctions in similar cases.

Apple has not commented on the ruling, but did reiterate that courts in several countries have found that "[Samsung] Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products."