Ups and downs for Apple in US patent cases
Loses bid for preliminary injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab, succeeds in reducing Motorola's patent claims
Published: 6 June, 2012
In the latest twists in the wireless patents wars, Apple has been denied its latest request for a US injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, but has scored its latest point against Google's Motorola Mobility arm.
US District Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over Apple-Samsung cases in San Jose, California, has shown increasing impatience with the process, but talks she mandated between the two firms' respective CEOs failed to reach agreement. In her latest ruling, she said Apple could not have the Samsung tablet banned while the case was still before a federal court of appeals. She said he had no jurisdiction to issue a preliminary injunction because the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington has not yet issued its verdict, though Apple can reapply once that happens.
In December, Koh rejected Apple's initial request to ban sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 until a final trial resolution is reached. The iPad maker's renewed request was based on a Federal Circuit finding that it will probably win its patent infringement claim against the rival tablet. Meanwhile, the appeals court said on May 14 that Apple could apply for an injunction even while the patent case was awaiting trial, disagreeing with Koh's opinion that Apple failed to show it was likely to win its case on merit, according to court filings.
In another high profile US patents case involving Apple's fight against Android, Judge Richard Posner, of the Chicago federal district court, granted the iPhone maker's motion to rule out one of the two patents Motorola is citing against it. Posner dismissed US Patent 6, 175, 559, described as a "method for generating preamble sequences in a code division multiple access system", from the case.
This was seen by Motorola as essential to the UMTS standard, according to Florian Mueller of the Foss Patents blog, but Apple disagreed and Posner supported its view. Like some other judges presiding over the current wave of handset IPR cases, including Koh, Posner has been trying to reduce the complex array of patents at issue. He has already removed many items from the agenda and Motorola is now left with just one patent to assert at the trial, down from an initial six, while Apple is down from 15 to four. And "Judge Posner isn't necessarily done winnowing," Mueller told CNet. "There may be more to come. In Judge Posner's court, patents-in-suit are an endangered species."
Posner also recently ruled against Apple on another issue, allowing comments made by former CEO Steve Jobs about Android - including his comment about launching a "thermonuclear war" against the OS - to be admissable in court. The trial will start later this month.