U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, ruled that
Apple Inc had not presented enough evidence to show that its
patented features were a significant enough driver of consumer
demand to warrant an injunction.
Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd have been litigating for nearly
three years over various smartphone features patented by Apple, such
as the use of fingers to pinch and zoom on the screen, as well as
design elements such as the phone's flat, black glass screen.
Apple was awarded more than $900 million by U.S. juries but the
iPhone maker has failed to sustain a permanent sales ban against its
rival, a far more serious threat to Samsung, which earned $7.7
billion last quarter.
The ruling on Thursday comes ahead of another patent trial set to
begin later this month involving newer Samsung phones, and could
frustrate any further attempt by Apple to bar the sales of those
models as well.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the order.
In a statement, Samsung said it was pleased with the ruling. "We ...
agree with its observation that a few software features alone don't
drive consumer demand for Samsung products — rather consumers value
a multitude of features," the company said.
Even though Samsung no longer sells the older-model phones targeted
by the injunction request, Apple has argued in court documents that
such an order is important to prevent Samsung from future copying
with new products "not more colorably different" than the defunct
Samsung, meanwhile, argued that Apple was trying to target new
Samsung phones in order to instill fear and uncertainty among
carriers and retailers.
Samsung's phones use the Android operating system, developed by
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A Northern California jury found that Samsung infringed several
Apple patents after a widely watched 2012 trial. Following the
trial, Koh rejected Apple's request for a sales ban, but in
November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered
her to reconsider Apple's evidence of market demand.
In her ruling on Thursday, Koh wrote that a consumer survey by Apple
likely inflated the value that customers place on the patented
smartphone features in dispute.
"A multitude of other survey evidence not prepared for the purpose
of litigation," Koh wrote, "indicates that numerous features that
were not tested — such as battery life, MP3 player functionality,
operating system, text messaging options, GPS, and processor speed —
are highly important to consumers."
Apple must demonstrate more than an insignificant amount of lost
sales due to Samsung's copying, Koh wrote, and Apple's survey is
"unpersuasive" evidence on that point.
In a separate order, Koh entered final judgment against Samsung for
about $930 million in damages stemming the 2012 jury finding of
patent infringement. Samsung said it would appeal that decision.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is
Apple Inc vs. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, 11-1846.
(Editing by G. Crosse and Bernadette
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