Written By: David Youngkin

The phone wars between Apple and Samsung continue, with Apple seeking a permanent injunction barring Samsung from implementing selected features on Samsung products.   Recently, Apple appealed the district court’s denial of its request for a permanent injunction. In Apple Inc., v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a divided panel for the Federal Circuit (Judge Moore, concurring Judge Reyna, and dissenting Chief Judge Prost) found that the lower court erred in its denial, vacated the decision, and remanded the case back to the lower court.
Category: Injunctions 
 By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor
TitleePlus, Inc. v. Lawson Software, Inc., No. 2013-1506, -1587 (July 25, 2014).
IssuesThis case raises two issues. [1: Injunction] The first is whether an injunction can continue after the PTO has cancelled the only claim on which the injunction was based. [2: Civil Contempt Remedies] The second is whether civil contempt remedies based on the violation of an injunction are appropriate when the injunction has been overturned on direct appeal.
ePlus, Inc. at *3.
[1: Injunction] Under these authorities, there is no longer any legal basis to enjoin Lawson’s conduct based on rights that claim 26 of the ’683 patent previously conferred as those rights have ceased to exist. The PTO found claim 26 invalid, we affirmed that decision, our mandate issued, and the PTO cancelled the claim. Claim 26 no longer confers any rights that support an injunction against infringement.
Id. at *11.
[2: Civil Contempt Remedies] We conclude that the compensatory award for the violation of the injunction must be set aside in light of the cancellation of claim 26 [because the modified injunction was not final].
Id. at *18 (text added).
Category: Injunctions  
By: Samuel Dillon, Contributor 
TitleTrebro Mfg., Inc. v. Firefly Equip., LLC, No. 2013-1437 (Fed. Cir. April 9, 2014).
Issues[Whether, in denying a motion for preliminary injunction,] the district court erred in determining that [(1)] Trebro failed to prove a likelihood that FireFly infringes the ’638 patent, that [(2)] FireFly raised a substantial question of the ’638 patent’s validity, and that [(3)] Trebro failed to prove a likelihood of irreparable harm.
Trebro Mfg., Inc. at *10 (text added).
[1] Likelihood of InfringementThe only basis on which the district court found no likelihood of success was the erroneous requirement that a bed frame be moved vertically. Absent an explicit claim construction favorable to FireFly (which, of course, does not include a “bed frame”), this court holds that the district court erred.
Id. at *14.
[2] Substantial Question of Validity[T]he record does not contain a single prior art reference that raises a substantial question as to the ’638 patent’s validity. Without even a reference to call validity into question, the district court abused its discretion in concluding there was no likelihood of success on the merits on the basis of validity.
Id. at *16.
[3] Likelihood of Irreparable HarmThe district court clearly erred in finding as speculative the harm Trebro is likely to suffer if its direct competitor is able to sell an infringing product in the small, niche sod harvester market . . . Further, the district court committed legal error by giving no weight to Trebro’s evidence of likely loss of market share and customers.
Id. at *16.

Category: Injunctions 


By: Christian Hannon, Contributor 

TitleEnergy Recovery, Inc. v. Hauge, No. 2013-1515 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 20, 2014).
Issue[W]hether Mr. Hauge by his conduct violated any terms of the district court’s 2001 Order [and was therefore rightly held in contempt of court].
Energy Recovery, Inc. at *7 (text added).
HoldingBecause the finding of contempt is reversed [since Mr. Hauge's conduct did not violate any specific terms of an injunction], there is no remedy necessary [as acutal patent infringement was not asserted]; the injunction is therefore vacated.
Id. at *12 (text added).



Category: Injunctions
 By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor  
[1-2: Irreparable Harm] On appeal, Apple challenges the district court’s irreparable harm analysis on two main grounds. [1] First, Apple argues that the court erroneously adopted a causal nexus requirement in the permanent injunction context. [2] Second, Apple argues, in the alternative, that it satisfied any reasonable causal nexus requirement with respect to both the design patents and the utility patents.
Apple at *11-12 (text added).
[3: Inadequacy of Legal Remedies] Apple argues on appeal that the district court erred in several respects [, which include (i) that money damages are inadequate in this case due to the difficulty of quantifying the damages attributable to the market share and downstream sales, even if Samsung is able to pay it, and (ii) Apple’s past licensing practices does not suggest that it would have licensed the asserted patents to Samsung, a competitor.]
Id. at *28-29 (text added).
[1: Irreparable Harm] [W]e reject Apple’s arguments and confirm that the district court was correct to require a showing of some causal nexus between Samsung’s infringing conduct and Apple’s alleged harm [because causal nexus is an necessary part of the irreparable harm inquiry that must be satisfied, irrespective of the type of product encompassed by the patent]. That said, we agree with Apple that certain of the standards arguably articulated by the district court go too far [, such as (i) requiring the patentee to show that one of the patented features is THE SOLE reason consumers purchased an infringer's products, and (ii) not permitting the patentee to aggregate patents in order to show harm].
Id. at *18 (text added).
[2: Irreparable Harm] We find no reason to dislodge the district court’s conclusion that Apple failed to demonstrate irreparable harm from Samsung’s infringement of its design patents [because anecdotal evidence is insufficient to support causal nexus finding]. Accordingly, we affirm the denial of injunctive relief with respect to those patents. However, with respect to Apple’s utility patents, we conclude that the district court abused its discretion in its analysis [because it failed to consider survey testimony during its analysis of the irreparable harm inquiry,] and consequently remand for further proceedings.
Id. at *10 (text added).
[3: Inadequacy of Legal Remedies] [T]he district court abused its discretion by failing to properly analyze whether damages would adequately compensate Apple for Samsung’s infringement of these patents [because (i) Samsung’s ability to pay a judgment does not defeat a claim that an award of damages would be an inadequate remedy; and (ii) Applie's licensing history shows that it would not have licensed its patents to a direct competitor].
Id. at *32 (text added).
Category: Injunctions
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor  
TitleNCube Corp. v. Seachange Int'l Inc., No. 2013-1066 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 10, 2013) (NCube changed name to "ARRIS Group, Inc.").
IssueThe thrust of ARRIS’s argument with respect to the colorable-differences prong [of a contempt motion] is that while [a] ClientID [address identifier] in the modified system no longer meets the “upstream physical address” limitation because it is no longer updated in the Connection Table, the Connection Table in the modified system is still updated with the SessionID[, a design-around address identifier].
NCube, at *7 (text added).
Holding[Seachange's design around is more than a colorable difference because] the ClientID was moved out of the Connection Table and placed elsewhere in the modified system […] this modification [is] significant because the ClientID still performs the same relevant functions in both systems, but does so in a way that all parties admit puts the ClientID outside the claim, i.e., not through updating in the Connection Table. That is a significant change to the system [that satisfies the colorable-differences prong in a permanent injunction contempt hearing].
Id. at *8-9 (text added).
Category: Injunctions
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor  
TitleBroadcom Corp. v. Emulex Corp., No. 2012-1309 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 7, 2013).
Issues[1] The obviousness analysis here asks whether a person of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention— an electrical engineer with at least a bachelor’s degree and several years of CDR experience—would have had a reason to modify Pickering to include a ["a data path," of Pickering and the ’150 patent address two different problems.]
Broadcom, at *13 (text added).
[2] […] Emulex argues that the district court abused its discretion in granting the injunction [due to] a lack of irreparable harm because there was no link between Emulex’s and Broadcom’s market share changes and there was no causal nexus “show[ing] that the infringement caused harm in the first place.” […] Specifically, Emulex contends that Broadcom has shown no evidence of demand for the features claimed in the ’150 patent and the patented feature is only a “small” component of the infringing products.
Id. at *18 (text added, internal citations omitted).
Holdings[1] While a prior art reference may support any finding apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art, prior art references that address different problems may not, depending on the art and circumstances, support an inference that the skilled artisan would consult both of them simultaneously. See Kinetic Concepts, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., 688 F.3d 1342, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (finding invention nonobvious when none of the “reference[s] relate to the [problem] described in the patents” and no evidence was proffered “indicating why a person having ordinary skill in the art would combine the references”)
Broadcom, at *14.
[2] Because of [the] market characteristics [of a 'design wins' market], the district court properly concluded that Broadcom’s “exclusion from a fair opportunity to compete for design wins constitutes irreparable harm.”
Id. at *20 (text added).
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