updated 06:42 pm EST, Thu December 20, 2012
Ruling: small percent of the products infringed, so no sales ban
In the latest round of Apple versus Samsung legal maneuvers, Apple has informed Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that it would be appealing her decision from earlier this week to disallow the sales embargoes on 26 Samsung devices. Remaining judgements are expected on the willfulness of Samsung's patent infringement, as well as any modifications to the $1.05 billion in damages awarded by the jury.
On Monday, the judge refused product sales embargoes on the Samsung devices found to be infringing during the landmark patent trial over the summer, saying that when only a small amount of the product is found to be infringing, it does not justify a ban on the whole product.
Judge Koh ruled that "the phones at issue in this case contain a broad range of features, only a small fraction of which are covered by Apple's patents. It does not follow that entire products must be forever banned from the market because they incorporate, among their myriad features, a few narrow protected functions." She added that "there is no suggestion that Samsung will wipe out Apple's customer base, or force Apple out of the business of making smartphones."
Apple, however, has plenty of grounds for a possible appeal. It is normally rare for a sales ban to be refused when the infringing party has been found guilty on multiple counts, demonstrating a clear intent to copy the original product inside and out in order to lure budget-minded consumers to a cheaper model. Apple will likely argue, as it already has in a previous appeal of one of Koh's earlier rulings, that her emphasis on a "causal nexus" of harm rather than Samsung's intent to steal technology sets the bar "too high" for patent holders that want to stop infringement by competitors.