Galaxy Nexus is Back After U.S. Court of Appeals Decision

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a ruling last Thursday which barred sales of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. This means that the handset will be back on store shelves, not to mention that it now has its much-needed break from the court.

Last June, Judge Lucy Koh awarded Apple the injunction against the Galaxy Nexus. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that California district court “abused its discretion” when it barred sales on the device.

At best, the district court’s finding indicates that some consumers who buy the iPhone 4S like Siri because, among other things, its search results are comprehensive. That does not sufficiently suggest, however, that consumers would buy the Galaxy Nexus because of its improved comprehensiveness in search.

The Court of Appeals also added that it is irrelevant how much sales of the Galaxy Nexus may harm Apple. That’s because they didn’t found enough evidence regarding the issue. As a result, the appeals court ruled that the district court “abused its discretion in determining that the irreparable harm factor counsels in favor of entering an injunction.”

Apple vs. Galaxy Nexus

In her initial ruling, Judge Koh cited U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604 for barring sales of Google and Samsung’s flagship Android phone. The patent deals with the Siri voice commands and unified search functionality that can be found on Apple’s iPhone 4S. These are also the features that were first levied against the Galaxy Nexus.

However, the Court of Appeals pointed out that the Quick Search Box, which is also claimed by Apple as infringed by Nexus, is an Android feature. This is not something specific to the handset.

The release of the allegedly infringing version of the Android platform predates the release of the Galaxy Nexus, but Google is not a defendant in this suit.

The appeals court also added:

To establish a sufficiently strong casual nexus, Apple must show that consumers buy the Global Nexus because it is equipped with the apparatus claimed in the ‘604 patent—not because it can search in general, and not even because it has unified search. The district court made no such determination.

According to the district judge, Apple was able to articulate a plausible theory of irreparable harm of the competing smartphone. In turn, the Galaxy Nexus results to a “long-term loss of market share and losses of downstream sales” for the Cupertino-based company.

The Galaxy Nexus is Google’s flagship smartphone, which was created in cooperation with Samsung. It has since been supplanted by newer Android mobile handsets, including Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

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