Federal Circuit Clarifies “Nexus” Requirement for Permanently Enjoining Patent Infringement: The Court of Appeals Vacates the District Court’s Denial of Apple’s Request for a Permanent Injunction Against Samsung With Respect to Smartphone/Tablet Utility Patents and Remands for Further Proceedings

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - November 19, 2013

On November 18, 2013, in Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the denial by the District Court for the Northern District of California of Apple’s request for injunctive relief against Samsung’s infringement of several utility patents relating to smartphone and tablet technology. The court held that the district court abused its discretion by failing to analyze properly Apple’s evidence of irreparable harm and the inadequacy of legal remedies. Of particular note, the Federal Circuit concluded that although some causal nexus must be shown between the infringement and the harm suffered by the patent owner, the patentee does not need to show that the patented feature is the exclusive reason for consumer demand as the district court had required. The court therefore remanded the case to the district court to reconsider Apple’s request for a permanent injunction in light of the Federal Circuit’s opinion.