On December 17, 2012, U.S. District Judge Koh denied Apple’s request for a permanent injunction against Samsung. As a reminder, a jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages in August after finding that Samsung had copied certain features of Apple’s iPhone and iPad. (See our earlier blog post summarizing this verdict). With respect to the court’s most recent ruling, Judge Koh followed the Federal Circuit’s heightened standard that requires patent-holders to show a direct link between lost market-share and a specific infringing feature of a competitor’s product. In fact, in a previous ruling related to another lawsuit between Apple and Samsung over the patented search technology used in Apple’s Siri feature, the Federal Circuit overturned Jodge Koh’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone. In the present matter, Judge Koh found that Apple’s evidence for injunctive relief fell short of the strict “causal nexus” standard because the lawyers did not prove that the copied features specifically drove consumers to buy Samsung devices.
Some attorneys believe that Apple’s main objective was to block Samsung’s sale of its products and not to obtain a financial remedy. In this regard, attorneys are of the opinion that the record verdict was a mere slap on the wrist to Samsung, which generates approximately $100 billion in annual revenues. Nonetheless, this recent ruling has a significant impact on the parties’ leverage in the mobile patent litigation arena.