Friday, July 20, 2012

Federal Circuit schedules Galaxy Nexus injunction appeal hearing for August 20

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit just decided to hear Samsung's appeal of Apple's preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus smartphone on August 20 (click on the image to enlarge or read the text below the image):

"The motion to expedite oral argument is granted. Oral argument will be held at 2 p.m. on August 20, 2012 in Courtroom 201."

This is the third decision in Samsung's favor during the early stages of this appeal. Previously, Samsung obtained a temporary stay of the preliminary injunction. That stay will be in effect until the appeals court decides on whether to grant a stay for the entire duration of the appellate proceeding. The Federal Circuit also granted Samsung's request for an expedited schedule.

With the hearing now being only a month away, Samsung also has a pretty good chance of winning a stay of the injunction for the remainder of this fast-track appeal.

It's not all bad news for Apple. While Apple would certainly like to be able to enforce this injunction again as soon as possible, it will benefit much more from a preliminary injunction that the Federal Circuit affirms (if it does). Should Apple win a favorable ruling after the August 20 hearing, it would then be in a tremendously strong position vis-à-vis Google and its Android partners to demand an end to all infringement of its Siri "unified search" patent.

The August 20 hearing will likely turn into a major Apple v. Samsung & Google showdown. And in all likelihood the Apple v. Samsung trial in Northern California (at which the Siri patent is not at issue) will be ongoing. Apple's in-house lawyers will have to choose which one to attend, but for its law firms it's not that difficult: while Morrison & Foerster represents Apple in both cases, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher is involved with only the 2012 lawsuit from which the Galaxy Nexus injunction has resulted.

In a parallel case involving the same parties, the Federal Circuit yesterday denied a Samsung motion to stay the Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction for the duration of the appeal. The court previously denied a short-term stay until the decision that came down yesterday.

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