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Apple vs Samsung - temporary injunction

Date: 28 October 2011
Author: Eddie Walker
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Earlier this month, the highly publicised Apple vs Samsung IP dispute resulted in a temporary injunction being granted to Apple, preventing Samsung selling their Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia.
 
In coming to the decision, Federal Court Justice Annabel Bennett concluded that the “balance of convenience”, determined in consideration of the inconvenience or injury each party would likely suffer as a result of granting or not granting the injunction, fell in Apple’s favour.
 
The prime reasons for deciding in favour of Apple included the likely short lifetime of the allegedly infringing product meaning that grant of a final injunction at a later date might have little practical effect, particularly in view of Samsung’s unwillingness to be available for an early final hearing on the matter.  Justice Bennett held that damages would be an inadequate remedy for Apple.  Furthermore, Justice Bennett considered Samsung to have proceeded with its “eye wide open” in launching the product in Australia following related proceedings in the United States.  She also considered there to be a “prima facie” case for infringement.
 
The injunction related to the alleged infringement of three claims from two of Apple’s patents (the “Touch Screen Patent” and the “Heuristics Patent”). For our inquisitive and technical-minded readers, we have recited the claims below.
 
Meanwhile, Samsung has applied for leave to appeal the injunction.
 
Claim 6 of AU 2005246219 (the Touch Screen Patent)
A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in a plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of a location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches, the transparent capacitive sensing medium comprising:
          a first layer having a plurality of lines that are electrically isolated from one another and formed from a transparent conductive material; and
          a second layer spatially separated from the first layer and having a plurality of lines that are electrically isolated from one another and formed from a transparent conductive material, the second conductive lines being positioned transverse to the first conductive lines, the intersection of transverse lines being positioned at different locations in the plane of the touch panel, each of the conductive lines being operatively coupled to capacitive monitoring circuitry,
          wherein the first layer and the second layer are disposed on two sides of an optically transmissive member.
 
Claim 1 of AU2007286532 (the Heuristics Patent)
A computer-implemented method, comprising:
          at a computing device with a touch screen display,
                     detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device; and
          processing the command;
          wherein the one or more heuristics perform the functions of:
                     determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command rather than a two-dimensional screen translation command, based on an angle of movement of the one or more finger contacts with respect to the touch screen display; and
                     determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command rather than a one-dimensional screen translation command, based on the angle of movement of the one or more finger contacts with respect to the touch screen display.
 
Claim 55
A computing device including a touch screen display, the computing device implementing the computer-implemented method of any one of claims 1 to 39.
 
If you have any questions or comments with regards to this subject, please contact Eddie Walker.
 
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