According to Reuters, an appeals court has repealed the injunction on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the US that was awarded to Apple in the patent lawsuit between the two companies. The ban was based on the '604 patent owned by Apple, which pertains to universal search features on a mobile device. The judge that awarded the ban back in June concluded that Apple would sustain irreparable damages and lost market share if the Galaxy Nexus were to remain on shelves. Samsung argued that the relatively low sales numbers of the Galaxy Nexus would present no harm to Apple, and it appears that the appeals court agreed, putting a temporary stay on the injunction back in July.
"There is also no dispute, however, that the Galaxy Nexus does not have a feature equivalent to Siri."
The court documents in today's decision claim that Apple was unable to present evidence that directly ties consumer demand for the Galaxy Nexus and this feature. "Apple has presented no evidence that directly ties consumer demand for the Galaxy Nexus to its allegedly infringing feature," noted the court. The court added that while Siri is a very popular feature in Apple's iPhone, "there is also no dispute, however, that the Galaxy Nexus does not have a feature equivalent to Siri."
The appeals court ruled that the district court, which initially awarded the injunction against the Galaxy Nexus, "abused its discretion," and that Apple did not establish a causal nexus between the unified search feature and sales of the Galaxy Nexus. "To establish a sufficiently strong causal nexus, Apple must show that consumers buy the Galaxy 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, " explained the court. As a result, the injunction has been permanently reversed and Samsung is free to sell the Galaxy Nexus in the US.
Update: Samsung has responded with an official statement on the court's decision:
"We welcome this reversal by the Federal Circuit, finding that the District Court abused its discretion in ordering a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus. Today's decision confirms that the role of patent law is to protect innovation and not to unreasonably stifle competition and restrict consumer choice. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to ensure the availability of our innovative products."