Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Galaxy Nexus ban remains in effect (for now), Apple posts $95.6M bond, Google stops selling

There are no surprises at this point with respect to Apple's U.S. preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus.

At close of business on Tuesday, Judge Koh denied Samsung's motion to stay the injunction pending appeal or until the Federal Circuit has decided whether to stay. This was widely expected. Judge Koh previously denied a motion to stay the Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction. Samsung still has the chance to persuade the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to grant a stay, but it's not going to be easy. The Federal Circuit is also going to take note of the fact that Samsung infringed all four of the patents asserted in the motion for a preliminary injunction (even though Apple prevailed on only the Siri patent in Judge Koh's equitable analysis).

Having read Judge Koh's order denying the stay, I think she was quite underwhelmed by the strength of Samsung's appellate arguments. She went into quite some detail on Samsung's claim construction arguments and the related non-infringement and invalidity contentions. She didn't say much about Samsung's argument that the '604 patent covers an aspect of Siri, but cannot be equated to Siri since Siri, as a technology, includes a whole lot more than just the technique described by that one patent. Judge Koh continues to equate the two, and this part of the argument at the appeals court could become the most interesting one. Siri undoubtedly is a whole lot more than this one patent, but without this patent, it's hard to have Siri-like functionality as long as it's interpreted as broadly as in the injunction order.

After Judge Koh made her decision, Apple posted its $95.6 million bond (click on the image to enlarge):

I believe Apple could have done so even a day earlier but waited because the motion for a stay was pending. For Apple, getting a $95.6M bond issued is just as easy as getting a $2.6M bond (like in the Galaxy Tab 10.1 case): it can be done on any given business day. But the difference is that Samsung had already brought a motion for a stay over the weekend and I guess Apple didn't want to be presumptuous by posting the bond before Judge Koh's decision on a pending motion, even though I'm sure Apple didn't expect Samsung's motion to succeed anyway.

AllThingsD's Ina Fried reported on an interesting observation: Google has removed the Galaxy Nexus from its online offerings. It's still listed, but not described as being currently available. Previously, AllThingsD also reported on Google's announcement to push out a software update that will work around the preliminary injunction patent. The big question here is going to be how they will steer clear of infringement: since this is not a standard-essential patent, it's definitely possible to build a smartphone that doesn't infringe the '604 patent, but based on the court's claim construction, it's hard to see how a modified version of Android can still provide Siri-like unified search. Or to put it differently: unless Google removes the Siri-like unified search functionality altogether, we're in for an enforcement dispute, and the risk for Samsung would be to be found in contempt. Tough choices.

Today is Independence Day in the United States, but in the land of the free Samsung isn't free to sell the Galaxy Nexus, for now.

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