US judge denies Apple permanent ban on Samsung products

The US judge presiding over the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung has denied Apple a ban on the sale of Samsung products that the jury had ruled infringed on Apple's patents.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

US Judge Lucy Koh has denied Apple a permanent ban on the sale of Samsung products in the US that the jury ruled in August had infringed on Apple's design patents.

Following the ruling, which saw Apple awarded US$1.05 billion in damages, the Cupertino tech company sought a permanent injunction on the sale in the US of 26 Samsung phone and tablet products that infringed on Apple's patents. In a judgment from Koh, published by AppleInsider today, she denied Apple's request as she found that Apple had not demonstrated that the products would cause irreparable harm to Apple if they remained on sale.

Apple argued that the patent infringement had harmed Apple's market share, future sales, and had injured Apple's ecosystem. Apple also claimed that the damages awarded would not compensate for the harm it had suffered. Samsung argued that 23 of the 26 products had been discontinued, while the remaining three had been altered to no longer infringe on Apple's patents, and any ban would potentially disrupt its relationships with carriers selling existing stock.

Koh said that on balance, it was not in the public interest to ban the devices.

"Weighing all of the factors, the Court concludes that the principles of equity do not support the issuance of an injunction here."

"It would not be equitable to deprive consumers of Samsung's infringing phones when [...] only limited features of the phones have been found to infringe any of Apple's intellectual property. Though the phones do contain infringing features, they contain a far greater number of non-infringing features to which consumers would no longer have access if this Court were to issue an injunction," she said.

"The public interest does not support removing phones from the market when the infringing components constitute such limited parts of complex, multi-featured products."

FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller has said today that Apple will likely appeal the ruling, stating that it is almost unheard of that an injunction motion would be denied for such a large number of infringements.

At the same time as denying Apple's request, Koh also rejected an application for a new trial from Samsung on the grounds of jury misconduct.

Samsung had argued that jury foreman Velvin Hogan was biased because he had lied about his involvement in a lawsuit with Seagate 19 years ago, which contributed to his bankruptcy. Samsung bought a 9.6 percent stake in Seagate in 2011 for US$1.3 billion.

Hogan also held a patent for video compression software.

Samsung suggested that Hogan had lied about his past with Seagate in order to secure his position on the jury, and that post-trial interviews suggested that he offered incorrect information during the jury deliberation process. Koh rejected both of these, however, stating that it was not clear that Hogan even knew of Samsung's stake in Seagate and Samsung itself had failed to discover his link to the company during the vetting process.

Hogan's post-verdict statements were inadmissable, Koh said, because federal rules of evidence do not allow juror statements about the deliberation of the jury after the fact to be included.

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