Apple and Samsung are back at it in their "it's really not done yet?" patent trial, and while this go-round focuses mostly on monetary damages, Cupertino had its bid to ban certain Sammy devices re-ignited by an appeals court today.
The ruling was a unanimous decree that Judge Lucy Koh made errors in denying Apple's post-verdict request for a permanent injunction on 26 Samsung phones and tablets.
While the appeals court stuck with Koh's denial from a design patent perspective, it decided another look is needed when it comes to a different set of patents.
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"[W]ith respect to Apple's utility patents, we conclude that the district court abused its discretion in its analysis and consequently remand for further proceedings," the court's ruling read.
In layman's speak, the court wants Koh to look more closely at evidence that Apple was "irreparably" harmed when Samsung decided to play copy cat.
Oh the legal morass...
Apple argued that Samsung copied its "revolutionary" iPhone, a device that took thousands of man hours and billions to develop. While Apple was awarded many millions in damages, it also referred to the case that captivated the tech world last year as a "classic" example of an instance when patent infringement should lead to a product ban.
For its part, Samsung has said that the monetary damages it's been ordered to pay do a dandy job of covering any IP infringements. The South Korean firm has been ordered to pay Apple $550 million (about £341m/AU$585m), but it's currently trying to cut that figure down.
The 26 devices in question are predominantly older products and don't include flagships like the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 3. If you were in the market for a Samsung Droid Charge, for example, now may be the time to buy one in case Koh ends up banning the handset after re-examination.
However, Apple also sought a ban on any product that makes use of the infringing utility patents even if it wasn't listed, meaning newer devices could be subject to an import and sales injunction.
Today's ruling may also give Apple leverage in a separate patent case with Samsung, set to start next year.
We've asked Apple and Samsung for comment on the federal appeals court ruling, and a Samsung spokesperson sent us this statement:
"We are pleased that the Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of a permanent injunction over Apple's design patents and trade dress. While the Federal Circuit also ordered the district court to reconsider a portion of its rationale concerning only Apple's utility patents, the remand concerns a very narrow scope of evidence presented by Apple. Therefore, we are confident that an injunction will be avoided."
We're still waiting for word from Apple.