Remember a few years ago and the “Patent Feuds” that happened when Apple was awarded a $120 million settlement from Samsung for using Apple technology and design in their handsets? If not, Apple filed numerous patent infringement suits in 2011 with the iPhone 4S being released late that year — in Q4 — and the Samsung competition devices were the Galaxy SII and Note II. One of the major features which Apple felt was worth millions was the “Slide to Unlock” feature, something that could be considered basic, but an integral part of the iPhone experience. Other patents infringed included the capability to recognize phone numbers or addresses in a set of text. A settlement was also made, though admittedly much smaller, to Samsung from Apple for another patent infringement.
The Cupertino district court had previously ruled that Apples arguments of Irreparable Harm and Inadequate Remedy of law were not justified on the grounds that the features used in Samsung’s devices did not indicate that consumers purchased one device or the other. They believed the technology, which infringed Apple’s patents as well, and the fact that Apples loses were difficult to quantify led to this lack of justification.
This most recent settlement, occurring in the Federal Appeals court, involved an appeal from Apple with the Cupertino company arguing err in the district courts ruling of Irreparable Harm and Inadequate Remedy of Law. The settlement finds Apples appeal justified, overturning the district courts ruling.
It was clear error in the face of this evidence for the district court to conclude that Apple failed to establish “some connection” between the patented features and demand for the infringing products. Apple did not establish that that these features were the exclusive or significant driver of customer demand, which certainly would have weighed more heavily in its favor.
Because we find the district court’s finding that Apple did not suffer any irreparable harm stemming from its losses of sales was predicated on a legal error, it also erred when it found that this factor weighs against an injunction. This factor strongly weighs in favor of Apple because, as the district court found, the extent of Apple’s downstream and network effect losses are very difficult to quantify.
This case provides grounds for an injunction to be filed against Samsung, though the companies will go back to the district court for the ruling to be reconsidered, and adjustments in the verdict to be made.
Thoughts on the Apple Vs. Samsung war? Leave them in the comments below or drop us a line on social media!