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Apple appeals denied injunction of Samsung Galaxy sales in the US

Apple has appealed its case for a preliminary injunction against four Samsung Galaxy devices to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the U.S., with one legal expert claiming Apple stands a "pretty good chance" of convincing the court to overturn at least some parts of the original ruling.

The Cupertino, Calif., company submitted its appeal earlier this week, as discovered by FOSS Patents blogger Florian Mueller.

The filing takes issue with District Judge Lucy Koh's Dec. 2 ruling that denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction of Samsung's Droid Charge, Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G and Galaxy Tab 10.1 devices.

Mueller asserted the opinion that Apple is "doing the absolutely right thing" with the appeal and went on to note that Koh's analysis of the situation appears "fundamentally flawed" to him. Though he did say that Koh's finding that Apple didn't show an entitlement to injunctive relief was "somewhat conclusory," he disagreed with her assessment and definition of the "relevant market and competitive dynamics."

"Apple has a pretty good chance here that the Federal Circuit will find some serious flaws in Judge Koh's reasoning on the equitable factors. A critical reader of her ruling can't help but conclude that her denial of injunctive relief is not well-reasoned to say the least," he wrote.

Additionally, Mueller suggested that the Court of Appeals would be concerned with the "incredibly high bar" that Koh set for injunctions, both preliminary and permanent. Though an overturning of an injunction denial is not a common occurrence, he did say that it's "very likely" that at least some of the judge's arguments would be reversed. The appeals court could, for example, correct any flaws in the ruling and remand it to Koh for reconsideration, the report noted.

Any improvements to Apple's situation would have a bearing not just on the preliminary injunction segment of the case, but also the main proceeding to discuss a permanent injunction scheduled for a trial next summer.

Assuming that the Court of Appeals decides to hear Apple's appeal, the process would take "a number of months," Muller said, adding that a decision should arrive before Koh rules on a permanent injunction.

Mueller even speculated that Apple could get support during the appeal in the form of curiae briefs from other patent holders due to concerns that Koh's ruling could give infringers a "license of right" or "compulsory license."

Apple has already won a permanent ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany, where, according to Mueller, injunctions are automatically triggered upon infringement of valid patents. Samsung has responded by making slight modifications to the device's design and re-releasing it in the country as the Galaxy Tab 10.1N.

In fact, Apple has even offered possible alternative designs to Samsung that would help it avoid violating its patents. The iPad maker provided suggestions such as using a non-black front surface, varying the bezel size, or introducing a "cluttered appearance."

Illustration from court brief comparing iPad and Galaxy Tab profiles | Source: The Verge

However, Apple was unsatisfied with the changes Samsung made for the Galaxy Tab 10.1N and has since asked the German court to also block sales of that device. The new 10.1N features a metal frame that wraps around its edges.

The redesigned Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N is shown up top. Via

Apple and Samsung are locked in a tense legal dispute that began back in April. The disagreement has since spread to over 20 complaints spanning 10 countries.

Samsung recently won a reprieve from an Apple victory that had caused a two-month ban on sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. The device has been approved for sale in the country and is expected to hit the market next Monday, though Apple has appealed the reversal.