U.S. court wary of Apple request to block Samsung
By David Ingram
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday showed few signs that it was prepared to support a request by Apple Inc to block immediately the sale of some Samsung Electronics smartphones and tablets.
In a high-stakes patent dispute, the court heard arguments about whether a federal trial judge acted correctly in December when she ruled that Apple failed to provide enough evidence to support an injunction of Samsung's Galaxy product line.
The court's judges reacted with skepticism to a premise put forward by Apple's lawyer that for the purpose of getting an injunction, Apple does not need to show a causal link between patent infringement and a loss of customers.
Apple's lawyer, Michael Jacobs, said it is enough to show that Samsung likely infringed on Apple patents used in products such as the iPhone, and that Apple is likely to be hurt. The trial judge found those things but not enough evidence of a causal link.
Judge William Bryson on Friday asked about a hypothetical case in which an automaker copied the design of a cupholder from a second automaker. Under Apple's argument, if the second automaker later lost market share, it could ask for an injunction against sales by the first automaker, Bryson said.
"Can that possibly be right?" he asked. Bryson is one of three judges who heard the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Judge Sharon Prost said some evidence of a link is important. Harm such as lost customers, she said, "could have been for reasons completely different from the infringement."
The Apple-Samsung dispute is scheduled to go to trial in July in federal court in California. Continued...