Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Apple requests U.S. preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone

Late on Tuesday, Apple brought a motion, in its second California litigation against Samsung, "to supplement the record regarding Samsung's Galaxy S III product". Apple formally asks the court for permission to add the S III as another product targeted by Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, a smartphone Samsung co-developed with Google.

Apple made this move approximately 20 hours after I wrote about the Galaxy S III being "the obvious next target". In my blog post I speculated that Apple might bring a preliminary injunction motion against it, possibly after awaiting tomorrow's preliminary injunction hearing. Apple decided to forge ahead now. Apple is on the offensive against Android. Earlier this week it filed an ITC complaint requesting an immediate import ban of 29 allegedly-infringing HTC devices. There's an important overlap: the "data tapping" patent that Apple is seeking to enforce against HTC's current generation of products is one of two patents Apple is using against the S III.

Apple purchased the S III in the United Kingdom, where Samsung launched it on May 29. The U.S. launch date is June 21 -- precisely two weeks after the preliminary injunction hearing.

Apple's motion notes that "[a]ccording to press reports, Samsung has already sold over nine million preorders of the Galaxy S III; indeed, the Galaxy S III has been reported to be the most extensively preordered piece of consumer electronics in history."

While the preliminary injunction motion filed in February targets the Galaxy Nexus over four patents, Apple is still analyzing the S III's potential infringement of two of those patents (the new slide-to-unlock patent and the autocomplete patent), but in order to accelerate the process and facilitate the court's analysis, Apple "will limit its current request for preliminary relief against the Galaxy S III to the '604 [unified search, i.e., Siri] and '647 [data tapping] patents, because it is clear that infringement can be shown with respect to these patents based on the current record".

Here's the full text of Apple's motion:

12-06-05 Apple Motion on Galaxy S III

The exhibits show that Apple's counsel (from the firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher contacted Samsung's counsel (Quinn Emanuel) on Thursday (May 31) to discuss Apple's desire to include the S III among the accused products. Among other things, Apple asked Samsung to "confirm that it will not launch the Galaxy S III in the United States until the Court has ruled on Apple's preliminary injunction motion", but Samsung's counsel replied on Monday (June 4) that "Apple's pending Preliminary Injunction Motion will have no bearing on the release date of the Galaxy S III". Apple's request to include the S III will likely be a topic of discussion at tomorrow's hearing -- and for now I wouldn't hold my breath for the scheduled release date of the S III until Judge Koh has spoken out on this.

[Update] On Wedesday afternoon local time, Samsung replied to Apple's motion, arguing that it's too late to supplement the record for the motion that targeted the Nexus back in February and suggesting that a new preliminary injunction motion is needed: "If Apple wishes to seek an injunction against the Galaxy S III, the Court should require Apple to file a new motion and allow the parties to develop a full factual record on all four factors. Accordingly, the Court should reject Apple’s motion to amend its current notice of motion for a preliminary injunction." [/Update]

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