Samsung is once again free to sell its Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States, following today’s higher court ruling that overturned the injunction Apple had successfully sought.
A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had previously put a stay on the injunction, but today it ruled that the ban should never have been granted in the first place.
Without making a determination on the alleged infringements, the court decided that the patented features in dispute weren’t a big part of why consumers bought a Galaxy Nexus instead of an iPhone: “The causal link between the alleged infringement and consumer demand for the Galaxy Nexus is too tenuous to support a finding of irreparable harm.”
To emphasize its point, the court wrote, “Even if the competitive injury that results from selling the accused device is substantial, the harm that flows from the alleged infringement (the only harm that should count) is not.” The entire ruling is embedded below.
The court’s decision hinged on unified search, the ability to search multiple databases with a single query. Apple had said Siri is a primary reason consumers choose an iPhone, and that Siri requires unified search to work, so Samsung’s unified search was causing “irreparable harm” to Apple’s sales.
From the consumer’s point of view, the popularity of Samsung’s more recent Galaxy S line of smartphones has pretty much made the Galaxy Nexus ban irrelevant. Developers and hobbyists like it, however, because it uses a “purer” version of Google’s Android operating system.
U.S. Court of Appeals – Documents related to Apple
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All Things D – Court Overturns Apple-Won Ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus