(CN) – The Federal Circuit on Thursday ordered a federal judge to reconsider banning Samsung smartphone features that infringe Apple patents, the latest twist in the companies’ long-running iPhone-Galaxy patent fight.
The 3-judge panel found U.S. District Lucy Koh made two errors when denying Apple’s request for an injunction to stop Samsung from using patented features in its smartphone and tablet products.
In November 2014, a jury found nine Samsung products infringed Apple’s patents and awarded Apple $119.6 million.
The Federal Circuit upheld the bulk of that award in an appeal ruling this past May but also found the iPhone’s rectangular design could not be protected by patent laws.
One of the infringing features used by Samsung allows smartphones to detect phone numbers in text message and prompt users with options to dial the number or store it in an address book.
Koh had originally found Apple failed to show a connection between the infringing features and a loss in sales or prove that monetary damages were insufficient compensation for the infringement.
However, in order to establish irreparable harm, Apple did not need to prove the infringing features were the primary reason consumers bought Samsung products, the panel found.
“Apple does not need to establish that these features are the reason customers bought Samsung phones instead of Apple phones-it is enough that Apple has shown that these features were related to infringement and were important to customers when they were examining their phone choices.,’ Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore wrote for the panel.
The panel also found the harm Apple will suffer from the infringement could not be easily compensated with money.
In a concurring opinion, Circuit Judge Jimmie Reyna wrote Apple undoubtedly showed the infringement caused irreparable injury to its reputation as an innovator.
“A reputation as an innovator creates excitement for product launches and engenders brand loyalty,” Reyna wrote. “Samsung recognized the importance of such a reputation and set its sights not on developing more useful products, but rather to overcome the perception that it was a ‘fast follower.'”
Chief Circuit Judge Sharon Prost offered a dissenting opinion, arguing that the “casual nexus” requirement to establish irreparable harm was not met.
The panel vacated Koh’s denial of Apple’s request for an injunction and remanded the issue for further consideration.
Attorneys for Apple at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Doorr of Boston and Dibson, Gunn and Crutcher of Palo Alto, Calif., did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Attorneys for Samsung at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan also did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
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