High Court extends injunction on Samsung tablet device

On 30 November 2011, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia handed down its appeal decision in the Apple v Samsung tablet computer case.

Samsung was successful in having the interlocutory injunction preventing its sale of the Galaxy tablet computer lifted. The full court was swayed by a number of factors. Firstly, they saw a strong likelihood that Apple’s Touch Screen patent was invalid for lack of novelty. Secondly, they viewed the infringement case based on Apple’s Heuristic patent as very weak. In the light of these findings, it is not surprising that the court lifted the injunction. Moreover, the Court was sensitive to the fact that preventing Samsung from entering the market for perhaps a year would likely kill the market for the product, given the speed with which technology changes in this field.

However, in an extraordinary move, the High Court of Australia has now extended the interlocutory injunction to 9 December 2011 in order to provide time for the court to consider Apple’s application for special leave to appeal to the High Court.

An appeal to the High Court is not available as of right and it is first necessary for the applicant to establish that the case is sufficiently ‘special’ to warrant the attention of Australia’s highest court. However, the extension of the injunction may indicate that the High Court will hear the appeal. This would be virtually without precedent where a patent infringement matter is still in the interlocutory stages.

Contact: If you have any specific enquiries about this decision, or interlocutory injunctions more generally, please contact Paul Jones.