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Federal appeals court hears arguments for Apple injunction against Samsung

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] heard arguments [oral argument, MP3] on Friday on Apple's request for a temporary injunction against distribution of Samsung's "Galaxy" products, but it seemed skeptical of Apple's arguments. Apple appealed a decision by the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] that allowed some of Samsung’s Galaxy tablets and phones to remain on the market while a patent-infringement case is pending. The district court decision denied the injunction request because Apple failed to establish a causal element between Samsung's alleged patent infringement and likely irreparable harm to Apple. The Federal Circuit judges questioned Apple's assertion that proving a causal link is not necessary, and that the only elements needed to obtain an injunction are likelihood of success of its claim and likelihood of Apple suffering irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted. They offered hypotheticals about situations that could arise where the standard for which Apple argued would be unworkable, and tried to push Apple toward a "middle ground" approach on the issue of cause. With the injunction Apple seeks specifically to prevent Samsung from selling three of its smartphone models as well as its tablet, the Samsung Tab 10.1, in the US market.

Apple's request for a temporary injunction was denied by the district court [JURIST report] in December. Apple brought its suit [JURIST report] against Samsung Electronics in April, alleging that Samsung copied its iPhone and iPad technology in making its "Galaxy" products. It alleged 10 patent infringements, two trademark violations and two trade dress violations. It also accused Samsung of unfair business practices and unjust enrichment. Last month a German court dismissed a case [JURIST report] in which Apple and Samsung were both accusing each other of patent infringements. Apple also filed a complaint [JURIST report] against Samsung in July with the US International Trade Commission, a week after Samsung filed a similar complaint [JURIST report]. Apple also filed suit against Samsung in a South Korea court [JURIST report] in June.

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