Tonight Judge Koh has made two pivotal rulings in the billion-dollar case between Apple and Samsung. First, and of lesser importance in terms of legal precedent, Samsung’s request for a new trial based on jury misconduct has been denied. Advantage Apple. Then the judge also denied Apple’s request for a permanent injunction on infringing devices. Advantage Samsung, in spades.
FOSS Patents, as always, has the details and analysis of tonight’s rulings:
Judge Lucy Koh, the federal judge presiding over the Apple v. Samsung litigation in the Northern District of California, just entered two important post-trial orders. Within minutes of each other, the first order denied Apple a permanent injunction against Samsung despite a multiplicity of infringement findings by a federal jury in August and the second order denied Samsung a new trial on the grounds of alleged jury misconduct (the court won’t even hold an evidentiary hearing on that issue, which most observers considered a long shot).
It may be unprecedented in the legal history of the United States for an injunction motion to be denied across the board despite such a large number of infringement findings (roughly half a dozen) by a jury and, especially, in light of the competitive situation between the two as well as the jury’s findings of willful infringement. If no injunction is ordered in such a case, it is hard to see how any patent holder could ever prevail on such a motion, and I doubt that this is what the appeals court will consider the right outcome. But the appeal will take a year or more, and in the meantime, this is a huge defensive success for Samsung’s lawyers.
From what I understand, the problem is that this ruling takes the teeth out of both the jury findings and the real-world assessment of the competitive landscape. Essentially, you can infringe on patents—willingly and with malicious intent—lose in court, pay a fine, but still be able to make money from the infringing devices. In Samsung’s case the fine (yes a billion dollars is a lot to you and I, it’s only a small bruise to Samsung) won’t prevent it from continuing to sell and make future money from devices that they clearly shouldn’t be selling (based on the accepted idea of patent infringement).
The post continues to detail how Apple will certainly push this through the courts. And while we do get a little tired of all the patent suits that are going around, this particular ruling has implications for all technology patents, and we actually should be rooting for Apple to get this overturned. If it isn’t, how people protect their innovations and invention could be thrown into chaos.
Via: FOSS Patents
Scales of Justice by mikecogh from Flickr.