After the Federal Circuit Opinion: What Happens Now

Here’s a quick recap of what our previous blogs have discussed. Back in July of 2011, Apple filed a motion for preliminary injunction against four of Samsung’s products: Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G, Droid Charge and Galaxy Tab 10.1. For various reasons, the district court denied Apple’s request against all four of the devices. Apple appealed this decision to the Federal Circuit. In May of 2012, the federal circuit issued its opinion whereby the appellate court affirmed the denial against three of the devices but remanded for further proceedings on the last. The federal circuit found that the district court had improperly found the D’889 patent to likely be invalid. The federal circuit decided that the D’889 was likely to be found valid, which in connection with the prior district court decision of likely infringement, meant that Apple had successfully established likelihood of success on the merits. The federal circuit upheld the lower court decision of Apple’s likely irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction against continued D’889 infringement. This decision meant that Apple had proven two of the four preliminary injunction prongs. The Federal Circuit remanded the case to the district court so the district court could reach findings on the final two prongs of the preliminary injunction analysis (balance of hardships, public interest).

 
After the federal circuit issued this opinion, Samsung petitioned the federal circuit for an en-banc rehearing. This petition was denied. Following this, the district court reached its findings, concluding that the final two factors of the preliminary injunction analysis also weighed in favor of Apple. And, as such, on June 26, 2012, the district court (of the Northern District of California) GRANTED Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 on the basis of alleged D’889 infringement. Samsung has already appealed this decision to the Federal Circuit. However, for now the injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has gone into effect (and will remain unless the federal circuit decides to reverse the district court’s granting of a preliminary injunction here).
 
Readers should keep in mind that Samsung has other options in addition to its rights to seek an appeal. This same matter is being litigated in Germany, where a German court had earlier granted an injunction against the same Galaxy 10.1. In response, Samsung simply made a few alterations to the design of the tablet and started selling this new version of the tablet instead (apparently making a few alterations sufficed in getting around design patent infringement).
 
Our next few blog posts will discuss the potential ramifications of the federal circuit’s May 2012 opinion. This opinion potentially has important effects on the obviousness inquiry for design patents and the irreparable harm prong of preliminary analysis. Our blogs will explore these issues.
 
Please see the previous post: Apple Argument and District Court Decision re Irreparable Harm from D’889 Infringement 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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