Federal Circuit - The FindLaw Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Who's Copying Who? Apple, Samsung and Motorola Keep Fed Cir Busy

It's been an exciting week for Apple and the International Trade Commission ("ITC"). Last week, the ITC and the Obama administration dealt a blow to Samsung when it vetoed a ban on older Apple products, paving the way for imports of older devices, reports Fast Company.

And in what seems like Bizarro World 2.0, at the end of this week, Apple and Samsung will meet again in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, as Apple appeals a district court's ruling blocking Apple's request for an injunction against the import of older Samsung devices, namely tablets and smart phones, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

That's not all.

Today, the Federal Circuit handed down a decision affirming-in-part, reversing-in-part and vacating-in-part, an ITC decision involving Apple's claims of patent infringement against Motorola.

Not sure about you, but our heads are hurting.

Obviousness

The ITC concluded that claim 10 of Apple's 7,633,607 ('607) patent was obvious. The Federal Circuit found that even though "the ITC's fact findings regarding what the references disclose are supported by financial evidence," the ITC's failure to address Apple's secondary considerations, evidence of copying and evidence of commercial success, necessitated the court to vacate the ITC's claim 10 of '607 determination and remand for further proceedings.

Noninfringement

The ITC found that Apple's 7,812,828 ('828) patent was not infringed by Motorola. The Federal Circuit did not agree and stated:

We agree with Apple that the ITC erroneously construed the 'mathematically fitting an ellipse' limitation. The plain language requires the software to "mathematically fit[]" an ellipse to the data. That process refers to calculating the mathematical parameters that define an ellipse.

Effect on Other Cases

This week, the Federal Circuit has re-opened a can of worms that, no doubt, Motorola would have liked to remain closed. With all of the different cases before the ITC involving this group of players, perhaps this outcome will influence the others. Whatever the case, it may be time for the Supreme Court to step in and give the lower courts some much needed guidance.

Related Resources: