Apple's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Court's Denial, and Federal Circuit Appellate Opinion: Reasonable Likelihood of Success

Apple’s Argument re Infringement of D’087 Patent, and the District Court’s Finding:
Using visual images to create a side-by-side comparison of the D’087 patent and Samsungs’ two accused phones (Galaxy S 4G and Infuse 4G), Apple argued that the phones had substantially similar designs as its D’087 patent. Like the D’677 patent, the D’087 patent involved the distinctive facial appearance of Apple’s instantly recognized iPhone (Apple’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction at 11). Apple’s motion contained visual images of the front faces of both Samsung’s accused phones and Apple’s iphone. Apple compared the visual images to each other to argue that the Samsung phones copied the D’087 patented design. As such, the Samsung phones had substantially similar designs to the D’087 design, which meant that the two accused phones infringed the D’087 patent.
Because the district court decided that Apple would not be likely to prove the validity of D’087, the court did not address the question of D’087 infringement. Although, it did refer to visual images of the D’087 patent while discussing the likely infringement of the D’677 patent. The district court stated, “The D’087 patent is included in the visual comparison for reference only and forms no basis for the infringement analysis in light of the finding that Samsung has raised ‘substantial questions’ regarding the validity of the D’087 patent” (Court Order Denying Apple’s Motion, footnotes 18 and 19 at 25-26).
Because of these questions about the patent’s invalidity, the court denied Apple’s motion for an injunction based on the D’087 patent and didn’t discuss infringement. When the Federal Circuit heard this matter on appeal, it did not discuss the issue of infringement as it affirmed the court’s ultimate denial of the injunction request.
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