Monday, 15 October 2012

Preliminary relief: irreparable harm must be related to infringement

Last Thursday's decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, reversing the decision to grant Apple’s application for a preliminary injunction for infringement of its 8,086.604 patent against fierce rival Samsung, can be accessed here. If you are too lazy, busy or bamboozled by the rapid succession of Apple v Samsung decisions that leap up before your eyes and demand your attention, you can rely on the kindness of our correspondent Perry Saidman (SAIDMAN DesignLaw Group, LLC, Silver Spring, Md) who has read the decision on behalf of all this blog's readers and who tells us that the key excerpt from the opinion is as follows:
“It is well established that as the party seeking emergency relief, Apple must make a clear showing that it is at risk of irreparable harm, which entails showing a likelihood of substantial and immediate irreparable injury. Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 678 F.3d 1314, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (hereinafter Apple I) (citing Winter, 555 U.S. at 22; Weinberger v. Romero–Barcelo, 456 U.S. 305, 311 (1982); O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 502 (1974)); see also Beacon Theatres, Inc. v. West-over, 359 U.S. 500, 506–507 (1959) (The basis of injunctive relief in the federal courts has always been irreparable harm and inadequacy of legal remedies). But in cases such as this—where the accused product includes many features of which only one (or a small minority) infringe — a finding that the patentee will be at risk of irreparable harm does not alone justify injunctive relief. Rather, the patentee must also establish that the harm is sufficiently related to the infringement. Apple I, 678 F.3d at 1324. Thus, to satisfy the irreparable harm factor in a patent infringement suit, a patentee must establish both of the following requirements: 1) that absent an injunction, it will suffer irreparable harm, and 2) that a sufficiently strong causal nexus relates the alleged harm to the alleged infringement”.

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