Apple's Argument and District Court's Decision re Irreparable Harm from Infringement of '381 Patent

 Apple’s fatal flaw was that its original motion for a preliminary injunction did not include a specific subsection on the irreparable harm from Samsung’s infringement of the ‘381 patent. As mentioned earlier, there were several declarations, exhibits and replies, so it is certainly possible that those documents expanded on the irreparable harm argument in connection to the ‘381 infringement. However, insofar as the original motion is concerned, Apple did not discuss anything about irreparable harm that was specific to the ‘381 infringement. Apple did not explain how the ‘381 infringement would cause either loss of consumer goodwill or lost market share. 

This precise failure doomed Apple’s request for an injunction based on ‘381 infringement. In the district court’s view, “Apple ha[d] failed to establish a relationship between any alleged loss of market share, customers or goodwill and the infringement of the ‘381 patent.” Court Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction at 63. Additionally, the court focused on the nature of the patented technology in connection to the whole product. Was the technology patented in ‘381 essential to carrying out the accused products’ functions? Or was the ‘381 technology a determinative factor in consumers’ purchasing histories? Apple had not proven either. The court stated, “the fact that the ‘381 patent is but one patent utilized in the accused products and does not appear to be either necessary….or a core technology of the product, weighs against a finding of irreparable harm” (Id. at 64). 
Furthermore, Apple’s prior licensing of the ‘381 technology also weighed against Apple’s request. The prior licensing indicated that monetary damages could be an adequate remedy to compensate for the infringement.
All these factors combined lead the court to its finding against irreparable harm from ‘381 infringement. On the basis of no irreparable harm, the district court denied an injunction against the four accused devices as based on the ‘381 infringement.
On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s irreparable harm finding. Apple needed to prove that the ‘381 patented technology was determinative to consumers’ purchasing decisions.  Without such a causal nexus, Apple could not get injunctive relief.
Please see the previous post: District Court’s Finding re Likely Validity of ‘381 Patent for more on this topic. For more on emergency business litigation, click here or call 312-223-1699 to speak with one of our Chicago law firm attorneys.
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