The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] partially on Monday reversed [opinion, PDF] the district court's refusal to grant a temporary injunction for Apple [corporate website; Bloomberg backgrounder] against Samsung [corporate website; Bloomberg backgrounder] for Samsung's "Galaxy" line of products. The appeals court agreed with the district court in denying a temporary injunction on three of the four appeals but remanded the case for further consideration of US Patent No. D504,899 [text]. The district court had held that the patent was obvious in light of certain prior art references, but the appeals court ruled that the district court improperly considered "the 'general concept' of a tablet" rather than "the distinctive 'visual appearances' of the reference and the claimed design." The district court had essentially considered Apple's patent to be invalid at too abstract a level, rather than comparing specific design components between Apple's patent and the prior art reference. Since the district court improperly determined that the D504,899 patent was likely invalid, it failed to consider the balance of hardships between Samsung and Apple if the injunction were to be granted and the public interest involved. The appeals court declined to rule on either issue however because "[i]t is normally not appropriate for this court to make such highly factual inquiries for the first time on appeal" and so it remanded the case back to the district court.
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 of last year, 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.