Apple's Permanent Injunction Against Samsung Gets New Life

Apple's fight for a permanent injunction blocking the sale of certain Samsung Galaxy devices in the United States has been brought back to life thanks to a Federal Appeals Court ruling. The iPhone and iPad maker had requested the permanent injunction based on Samsung's infringement on its rubberband, tap to zoom, and pinch to zoom patents.

Apple gets a new chance at banning some Samsung Android-based device salesApple gets a new chance at banning some Samsung Android-based device sales

Apple filed its new motion for a permanent injunction on December 26, according to FOSS Patents, and is hoping for a hearing as soon as January 30, 2014.

The permanent injunction request stemmed from Apple's big win against Samsung in August 2012 where a Federal Jury ruled the electronics maker willfully infringed on a long list of Apple's design-related patents. Judge Lucy Koh, who has been overseeing the case, denied Apple's request saying that there wouldn't be any irreparable harm by allowing Samsung to continue to sell the offending products.

Several of the listed devices weren't available any more, and as time has passed even fewer are on store shelves. Despite the lack of devices, an injunction would still be far more than symbolic for Apple because it would also cover similar devices -- potentially including Android-based Galaxy smartphones and tablets that are currently selling in the United States.

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents said,

It's important to focus on the asserted patents, not the accused products. Obviously, the products that are named in an April 2011 lawsuit (such as the Galaxy S II) are no longer commercially relevant. But Apple is seeking an injunction that would also cover 'any other product not more than colorably different from an Infringing Product as to a feature found to infringe.'

Winning a permanent injunction would also put Apple in a stronger position going into its second mobile device patent infringement trial with Samsung next March. Just like the 2011 trial, Apple is accusing Samsung of using its patented technology and designs in its own smartphones and tablets without proper licensing.

The Jury in the first trial awarded Apple more than US$1 billion in damages, although over $400 million of that was set aside for being improperly calculated. A followup damages retrial dropped the total damages award down to $900 million, and Samsung is doing what it can to delay paying up.

Judge Koh hasn't set a date yet for a hearing to review Apple's renewed permanent injunction request. Since courts have limited hours during the end of year holidays, it's possible she won't add the hearing to her schedule until after the first of the year.