Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

May 14, 2012, Decided

2012-1105

Opinion

 [***1635]   [*1316]  Bryson, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from the denial of a preliminary injunction. While the appeal presents substantial issues of law and fact, the decision whether to issue a preliminary injunction is one that is committed to the discretion of the district court,  [**2] which makes the appellant's task in over-turning that decision a difficult one. With respect to three of the four patents at issue in this appeal, we conclude that the appellant has not satisfied its burden of demonstrating an abuse of discretion, and we therefore affirm the denial of preliminary injunctive relief. With respect to the fourth patent, we conclude that the district court committed legal error in one important respect, so we vacate that portion of the court's order  [*1317]  and remand for further proceedings in that part of the case.

Apple, Inc., is the owner of several design and utility patents pertaining to smartphones and tablet computers. U.S. Design Patent Nos. D593,087 ("the D'087 patent") and D618,677 ("the D'677 patent") are directed to designs that Apple contends are generally embodied in the iPhone, Apple's popular smartphone. Those patents issued on May 26, 2009, and June 29, 2010, respectively. Both patents claim a minimalist design for a rectangular smartphone consisting of a large rectangular display occupying most of the phone's front face. The corners of the phone are rounded. Aside from a rectangular speaker slot above the display and a circular button below  [**3] the display claimed in several figures of the patent, the design contains no ornamentation. The D'087 patent claims a bezel surrounding the perimeter of the phone's front face and extending from the front of the phone partway down the phone's side. The parts of the side beyond the bezel, as well as the phone's back, are disclaimed, as indicated by the use of broken lines in the patent figures. The D'677 patent does not claim a bezel but instead shows a black, highly polished, reflective surface over the entire front face of the phone. The D'677 patent disclaims the sides and back of the device. Representative depictions of the designs claimed in the D'087 and D'677 patents are reproduced below:

 [***1636]  

Read The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.

678 F.3d 1314 *; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 9720 **; 102 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1633 ***; 2012 WL 1662048

APPLE, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS AMERICA, INC., AND SAMSUNG TELECOMMUNICATIONS AMERICA, LLC, Defendants-Appellees.

Subsequent History: On remand at, Injunction granted at Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88436 (N.D. Cal., June 26, 2012)

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in Case No. 11-CV-1846, Judge Lucy H. Koh.

Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139049 (N.D. Cal., Dec. 2, 2011)

Disposition: AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, and REMANDED.

CORE TERMS

district court, patent, infringement, irreparable harm, tablet, preliminary injunction, injunction, front, smartphone, display, screen, visual, factors, designs, flat, public interest, hardships, nexus, merits, edge, impression, surface, phone, sales, substantial question, injunctive relief, purchases, brand, market share, appearance

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Remedies, Injunctions, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Patent Law, Equitable Relief, Injunctions, Business & Corporate Compliance, Patent Law, Infringement Actions, Design Patents, Nonobviousness, Elements & Tests, Ordinary Skill Standard, Prior Art, General Overview