William Lee, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner ()
SAN FRANCISCO — In the wake of its $119.6 million trial win, Apple is again angling for a permanent injunction against Samsung. However, the company’s request is modest compared to the sweeping sales ban it sought after its 2012 court victory.
The Cupertino-based company moved on Friday for a narrow injunction barring Samsung from stepping on three patents the eight-member jury found it infringed earlier this month.
“Only an injunction can finally end Samsung’s unfair and illegal practice of trying to compete with Apple through infringement,” Apple lawyer William Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr wrote in the motion.
Apple is seeking an injunction that would apply to only specific features in Samsung products found to infringe its patents, and its lawyers wrote that Samsung should be given a 30-day grace period to modify its devices before the injunction takes effect.
The bid could be an effort to sway U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who twice rejected a broader request from Apple after the companies’ original patent battle over their popular smartphones and tablets. Emboldened by its victory, Apple had unsuccessfully sought to take a broad swath of Samsung products off the shelves.
Vying for a ban on features found in the newer versions of Samsung’s devices, Lee took care to frame the company’s request as limited and designed to give Samsung fair opportunity to work around Apple’s patents. Samsung lawyers stated at trial that the company would need no more than a month to work around Apple’s patents.
“Having represented that it can design around Apple’s patents completely and quickly, Samsung cannot complain that Apple’s narrowly tailored injunction will deprive the public of a single Samsung product,” Lee wrote.
Apple’s recent win was part of a mixed verdict. After a one-month patent trial, the federal jury awarded Apple a fraction of the nearly $2.2 billion it sought. Although the jury also found that Apple infringed Samsung’s patent for video-calling technology, the South Korean company has yet to move for a permanent injunction against its rival.
With such a narrow proposal, Apple appears to be gunning for a victory in the court of public opinion, said Bernard Chao, an assistant law professor at the University of Denver.
“Winning this motion would simply be a symbolic victory for Apple … as opposed to a real, substantive victory in the marketplace,” Chao said.
Indeed, Apple argued in the motion that it needs a permanent injunction to uphold its reputation for innovation. The company took offense at interviews given by lead Samsung lawyer John Quinn after the latest trial in which he derided Apple as a patent “jihadist” and described the long-running patent cases as “Apple’s Vietnam.”
“Beyond the reputational harm already inflicted by these inflammatory public statements, Apple will suffer even further if the court fails to enter an injunction,” Lee wrote.
Quinn, a name partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spokeswomen for Apple and Samsung could not be reached either.
As in previous bids for injunctions, Apple drew from survey evidence from Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor John Hauser. The survey, which queried Samsung users, is central to Apple’s efforts to show a direct link between the infringing features and demand for the South Korean company’s phones. Koh previously refused to enter an injunction in Apple’s favor unless it demonstrates such a link.
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