Siri helps Apple win preliminary injunction against Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Following up on the sales injunction of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Apple has also won another preliminary injunction against Samsung, this time regarding unified voice search patents (i.e. Siri) and will affect the Galaxy Nexus.

Yes, Google just lost a case about search patents.

For the time being, it will cost them the sales of one of the top Android phones out there. Judge Lucy Koh has ruled that "Apple has articulated a plausible theory of irreperable harm" due to "long-term loss of market share and losses of downstream sales" from the infringement. Apple needs to post a bond of $96 million to offset potential loss from Samsung, which is likely to happen very soon; they posted bond on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 injunction within hours.  Three other patents were dismissed from Apple's complaints since Judge Koh was unconvinced that they played a role in consumer purchasing (slide-to-unlock, data tapping, and autocorrect). Siri, on the other hand, is a different story. Here's are a few key sections of the ruling.

  • "In sum, Apple has shown that claims 6 and 19 of the '604 [Siri] Patent are likely both valid and infringed. Apple has therefore shown a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the '604 Patent."

  • "In sum, Apple has shown a likelihood of establishing both infringement and validity."

  • "Accordingly, Apple has shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its '647 [data tapping] Patent claim."

  • "Accordingly, Apple has met its burden of establishing that the '721 [slide-to-unlock] Patent is likely infringed by the Galaxy Nexus, and that the '721 Patent will likely withstand a validity challenge at trial."

  • "Accordingly, Apple has shown that it is likely to succeed on the merits at trial in its claims that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus infringes claims 18, 19, and 27 of the '172 [autocorrect] Patent."

  • "The Court finds that the full extent of these losses would likely be unascertainable, difficult to calculate, and irreparable."

"The Court is persuaded by the evidence in the record that the ’604 unified search functionality drives consumer demand in a way that affects substantial market share. Even accepting Samsung's argument that the intelligent voice-recognition aspect of Siri, as advertised, also contributes to consumer interest in the iPhone 4S, Apple has shown that the '604 Patented feature is core to Siri's functionality and is thus a but-for driver of demand for Siri. Accordingly, the Court finds that Apple has adequately established the requisite causal nexus between Samsung's alleged infringement of the '604 Patent and Apple’s risk of suffering irreparable harm."

"The Court finds that the full extent of these losses would likely be unascertainable, difficult to calculate, and irreparable."

"The Court is persuaded by the evidence in the record that the ’604 unified search functionality drives consumer demand in a way that affects substantial market share. Even accepting Samsung's argument that the intelligent voice-recognition aspect of Siri, as advertised, also contributes to consumer interest in the iPhone 4S, Apple has shown that the '604 Patented feature is core to Siri's functionality and is thus a but-for driver of demand for Siri. Accordingly, the Court finds that Apple has adequately established the requisite causal nexus between Samsung's alleged infringement of the '604 Patent and Apple’s risk of suffering irreparable harm."

This is preliminary, and Samsung will have a chance to appeal, beyond the defense against the injunction they had made in April.

Still, this is a massive win for Apple, and a giant blow to Android. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the figurehead for the whole platform, and stopping it from being sold in the U.S. is a huge symbolic victory, if nothing else. The big question is, how long will this injunction stick? Will Samsung be able to win their appeal, or will Google have to make some big changes to how it handles voice search in order to convince the judge that they're not just copying Siri patents?

Source: FOSS Patents, @FedcourtJunkie via TNW