It wasn’t a happy day for anyone involved – except Apple, of course – when a Preliminary Injuction banning sales of the Galaxy Nexus were put into effect by Judge Koh. These led to the Nexus being taken off of the Play Store until the 4.1 Jelly Bean update was rolled out to fix the complaint.
Said complaint from Apple focussed around their patent on Universal Search and somehow Apple managed to argue that the Galaxy Nexus did infact infringe upon it and so the injunction was granted. Patent No. 8086604 is described as “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system” and it’s pretty essential to Apple right now as it can apply to a great many things such as Spotlight Search as well Siri. Of course, this isn’t to say it isn’t valuable to Google either, you know, the search giant however the company was forced to take the feature away from the device in the 4.1 update.
When Judge Koh granted the injunction she said that Apple has articulated a plausible theory of irreparable harm” through “long-term loss of market share” and “losses of downstream sales”. Talk of such things in the same sentence as Apple Inc. sounds like complete and utter nonsense – what market share were they losing? When did they lose sales? It’s incredible to see that a judge could be so blinded by some fancy lawyers.
In appeals court though, Samsung managed to argue the opposite and I might be so bold as to say: the truth. Samsung argued that the Galaxy Nexus has sold relatively poorly and that the use of the Patent in question wouldn’t affect sales of the device at all. Judge Koh finally came to her senses and has now reversed the decision, with the official court order stating:
…it may very well be that the accused product would sell almost as well without incorporating the patented feature. And in that case, 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.