permanent injunction : CAFC Alert

Permanent Injunctions: the Federal Circuit’s Causal Nexus Swing

| December 11, 2013

Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Electronics – CAFC Opinion

Decided November 18, 2013

Panel: Judges Prost, Bryson and O’Malley, Opinion by Judge Prost


The Federal Circuit vacated the California District Court’s denial of permanent injunctive relief against Samsung for its infringement of Apple, Inc.’s smart phone utility patents on the basis of the District Court having abused its discretion by failing to properly analyze evidence of causal nexus pertaining to irreparable harm and the inadequacy of legal remedies.   This case is the third appeal to the Federal Circuit in this matter between Apple and Samsung.  In 2011, in Apple’s initial infringement suit against Samsung, the jury found that twenty-six (26) Samsung smart phones infringed on six (6) Apple patents, and awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages.   Prior appeals to the Federal Circuit involved appeals related to preliminary injunctive relief (Apple I and II).  While the Federal Circuit in prior appeal (Apple II) had rejected the District Court’s award of a preliminary injunction for not having considered the causal nexus requirement, the Federal Circuit now vacates the District Court’s award of permanent injunctive relief for having placed too much emphasis on the causal nexus requirement.



Upon obtaining the District Court decision, Apple moved for a permanent injunction to enjoin Samsung from importing or selling any of its twenty-six (26) infringing products or any other product not more than colorably different.  Apple’s appeal is based on infringement of Apple’s 1) utility patents, 2) design patents and 3) trade dress.  On December 12, 2012, the District Court denied the request for a permanent injunction.  Here, the Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of permanent injunction for infringement of the design patents and trade dress, but vacated and remanded the denial of permanent injunction for infringement of the utility patents.
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CAFC Allows Willful Infringer to Continue Infringements for an “Ongoing Royalty” Due to “the Public’s Interest to Allow Competition in the Medical Device Arena”

| February 16, 2012

Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc., et al. v. W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

February 10, 2012

Panel: Gajarsa, Linn and NewmanOpinion by Gajarsa.  Dissent by Newman.


This decision concludes a forty-year-long story that began in 1973 between two cooperating individuals that independently filed patent applications for vascular grafts in 1974.  Those applications went to interference in 1983 and have been the subject of ongoing litigation since, concluding now in the current CAFC decision.  The Arizona district court from which the present case was appealed expressed that this was “the most complicated case the district court has [ever] presided over.”  In this case, the Gore inventor was the first to both 1) conceive of the invention and 2) file a patent application in 1974 (i.e., filing 6 months prior to the Bard inventor), but Gore lost in an interference before the Patent Office.  Now, Gore is found to be willfully infringing the patent that was awarded to Bard, and is subjected to doubled damages (i.e., totaling $371 million) and attorney’s fees (i.e., totaling $19 million).  However, despite these findings, the CAFC allows Gore to continue infringing, declining a permanent injunction and awarding reasonable royalties in the amount of between 12.5% to 20% for future infringements due to the weight of “the public interest to allow competition in the medical device arena.”

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