Samsung Overturns Sales Ban Pending Appeal
(CN) - The Federal Circuit lifted a ban on U.S. sales of Galaxy Nexus smartphones while Samsung appeals a decision finding that the devices infringe on an Apple patent.
Apple sued in February, claiming Samsung violated a patent for a system that allows mobile devices to search local files and the web simultaneously, and retrieve search results before a user finishes typing the query.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., issued a preliminary injunction on July 1.
In refusing Samsung's request for a stay on July 3, Koh said she read the briefs and reviewed the injunction, but found nothing to change her mind.
"The court is not convinced that Samsung has met its burden of showing a likelihood of success or substantial questions on appeal," Koh wrote.
In its appeal to the Federal Circuit, filed immediately after Koh issued the preliminary injunction, Samsung claimed that the Nexus does not infringe on Apple's patent, that Apple's patent is invalid, and that Samsung will suffer irreparable harm from the ban.
The Federal Circuit in Washington granted the temporary stay with an unsigned order Friday.
In its original April 2011 complaint, Apple accused Samsung of selling knockoff smartphones and tablet computers that "slavishly copy" iPhone and iPad products.
Samsung subsequently introduced the Nexus phone, and in February this year Apple filed a follow-up lawsuit and sought a preliminary injunction on Nexus smartphones and other Samsung products.
"Despite [the first] lawsuit, Samsung has continued to flood the market with copycat products, including at least eighteen new infringing products released over the last eight months," Apple said in the February complaint.
Koh's order denying Samsung relief from the Nexus sales ban relied on the reasons she gave in granting the preliminary injunction. "The invention disclosed in the '604 patent overcomes two different problems in the prior art, both relating to a computer user's need to quickly search for desired information," she wrote.
Apple calls its '604 patent the "Universal Interface for Retrieval of Information in a Computer System." Koh noted that Apple had previously claimed that "there had been no combination of desktop find routines that presented a single interface allowing a user to search simultaneously across different types of information storage systems."
Another unique aspect of Apple's '604 patent is the use of an "heuristic algorithm," which Koh's preliminary injunction says can "filter the user's searches across multiple information storage systems and to display only the most relevant search results, thereby making a user's search more efficient and personalized."
The algorithm "enables searching to occur on portions of the user's input as they are received, potentially returning relevant results before the user has entered the complete search terms," according to the preliminary injunction.
Koh said it appears that Apple will prevail at trial.
"Apple has shown that the Quick Search Box on the Galaxy Nexus likely has at least two heuristic modules employing two different, predetermined heuristic algorithms," Koh's July 3 order states. "Accordingly, the court finds that Apple has shown that the Galaxy Nexus likely infringes the '604 Patent."
Apple has posted the $95 million bond the court demanded, in case it turns out that Samsung's Nexus did not infringe on the Apple patent.
The case is scheduled for trial in 2014.
In the first, parallel patent infringement case, which is going to trial at the end of this month, Koh stopped sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer, finding that "Samsung's products are 'virtually indistinguishable' from Apple's products, and that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 likely infringed" on Apple's table computer patent.
Apple is represented by Harold McElhinny, Michael Jacobs and Jennifer Taylor, with Morrison Foerster.
Samsung is represented by Charles Verhoeven, Kevin Johnson and Victoria Maroulis, with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.