However, Koh denied Apple’s request for a permanent injunction blocking the sales of those devices in America.
Apple did not show that the patented features, including the iconic pinch-to-zoom gesture, sufficiently informed consumers’ decision making about what product they bought, Koh ruled. Because of that, Apple won’t get an injunction that prevents Samsung from selling the infringing products.
Apple claimed that Samsung’s growing market share was a clear sign of harm against the company. Furthermore, the company commissioned a survey to try and show that the features outlined in the patents were ones that consumers valued. Koh said that the survey wasn’t persuasive enough, noting that it did not contribute enough to their purchasing decision. In addition, Judge Koh said that the survey didn’t take non-infringing alternatives into account.
Either company could choose to appeal Koh’s decision, but even if they don’t, there are still more legal battles to be fought. The two parties are going to trial in a few months over a different set of patents.
It’s an important ruling for other companies embroiled in similar litigation. An injunction banning the sale of an infringing product is a powerful weapon in a patent litigant’s arsenal, and Koh has set a high bar for other smartphone makers looking to successfully make a similar claim.
Assuming Koh’s reasoning stands up to appeal, it will be a part of the decision making process for judges looking to evaluate similar claims, whether they’re from Apple or Nokia. The message in the ruling is clear: if a company wants to get an injunction to block the sale of a product, they have a lot to prove in order to get there.
Here’s Koh’s ruling in full (via Florian Muller of FOSS Patents):