Friday, October 12, 2012

Samsung prevails against Apple at CAFC

The CAFC reversed Judge Koh of ND Cal:

Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd., Samsung Elec- tronics America, Inc., and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC (collectively, “Samsung”) appeal from the district court’s order granting Apple, Inc., a preliminary injunction and enjoining Samsung from selling its Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Because the district court abused its discretion in entering an injunction, we reverse and remand.

Of course, eBay is cited:

“A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must es- tablish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008) (citation omitted). These traditional four factors “apply with equal force to disputes arising under the Patent Act.” eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006). The parties dispute the district court’s decision to grant injunctive relief based on its analysis of the likelihood of success and irreparable harm factors. To the extent we deem necessary, we address these argu- ments below.

Of irreparable harm:

Here, Samsung challenges the district court’s decision on both grounds: it argues that it was abuse of discretion for the district court to find that Apple will be irreparably harmed in the absence of an injunction, and that Apple sufficiently established a causal nexus between the harm alleged and the infringing conduct. We hold that the district court abused its discretion in determining that Apple established a sufficient causal nexus.


The patentee must rather show that the infringing feature drives consumer demand for the accused product. Id. Only viewed through the prism of the causal nexus analy- sis will the irreparable harm allegations reflect a realistic sense of what the patentee has at stake.

Here, Apple’s evidence of causal nexus is limited.


To begin with, the district court correctly observed that our case law does not present much guid- ance on how the causal nexus test should be applied. Quite appropriately, before analyzing the evidence, the district court first articulated the legal framework that it deemed applicable. It stated that “the requisite causal nexus . . . can be established by showing either that the patented feature is an affirmative driver of consumer demand, or that [its] absence would suppress consumer demand.” Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., __ F. Supp. 2d __, 2012 WL 2572037, *57 (N.D. Cal. 2012).

The CAFC mentions an article in a blog:

The third and last document is an article published in a blog that contains “news and notes from the Google Mobile team.” J.A. 1621. The article simply explains and praises Android’s QSB feature but says nothing about consumer demand.

In "likelhood of success," the meaning of the word "each" was discussed:

We hold that the district court’s determination that “each” modifies “plurality of heuristic modules” is errone- ous because it contravenes the plain terms of the claim. The word “each” appears not before “plurality of mod- ules,” but inside the “wherein” clause and before the phrase “heuristic modules.” The district court drew support for its construction from ResQNet. Apple, __ F. Supp. 2d at __, 2012 WL 2572037, at *8. But ResQNet in fact counsels the opposite conclusion. That case in- volved two different claims, one of which recited “each field,” the other one “each of a plurality of fields.” ResQNet, 346 F.3d at 1377. We thought “[t]his difference is significant” and thus construed the two claims sepa- rately, holding that the first claim meant “all fields,” the latter “at least two, but not all.” Id. at 1382. Here, the district court eliminated the very distinction that we deemed material in ResQNet by plucking “each” from where it appears and planting it before the phrase “plu- rality of modules.” That was error, and Apple’s reliance on ResQNet based on the assertion that it “involv[ed] almost identical claim language” is—at best—incorrect. Appellee’s Br. 46.


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