Saturday, June 30, 2012

Apple bats two for two: judge issues preliminary injunction against U.S. Galaxy Nexus sales

Apple has achieved two huge wins in its U.S. court battle against rival Samsung in the same week. On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple a preliminary injunction against sales of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the U.S., following an earlier similar preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

The injunction can go into effect as soon as Apple posts a bond of nearly $96 million, to protect Samsung from losses in case the injunction is eventually ruled invalid. Earlier, Apple had to post - and quickly did - a $2.6 million bond in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 case.

The decision centered around U.S. Patent 8,086,604, which covers “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system” (or unified search functionality). Apple had cited three other patents in its original complaint, but those were not cited in the decision.

The exclusion of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 from the U.S. market probably doesn't hurt Samsung much, as it has already released a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, meaning that the device is obsolete. Even the Galaxy Nexus injunction may not hurt Samsung as much as it does two others: Google and Sprint.

Sprint's version of the Galaxy Nexus did not arrive until this April (the original Galaxy Nexus shipped on Verizon late last year). That late "start" means that the device is "newer" to Sprint customers.  In addition, the Galaxy Nexus is one of Sprint's few LTE devices.

For Google, the Galaxy Nexus is their current "developer device," and it is sold on the Google Play Store for a very inexpensive price for an unlocked phone with no contract: $349. Or, at least it was.

An Apple representative issued the same company line statement it continues to use since it went "thermonuclear" on Samsung globally, with patent-infringement suits that started last April.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging. This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

In Steve Jobs' official biography, Walter Isaacson, his biographer, quoted the former Apple CEO as saying:

"I'm willing to go thermonuclear on this. Our lawsuit is saying, 'Google you f***ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off.' I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product."

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