Last April, Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement concerning the company’s iPad and iPhone products. Apple claimed that Samsung copied the “look and feel” of its products when it created the Galaxy line of Samsung electronics. Last December, Judge Lucy Koh denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction on some of Samsung’s Galaxy models. Judge Koh did note, however, that Apple would likely prevail on at least one of the counts of patent infringement related to the patents. Fast forward to April 4, 2012. On this date, Judge Koh ruled on term definitions during claim construction for the lawsuit. Eight terms were up for consideration and Judge Koh ruled in favor of Apple on five of those eight terms. Judge Koh decided to use two of the terms as they were presented by Samsung and use a hybrid definition for the remaining term. Claim construction can often be a vital part of the patent litigation process, as the terms help define and frame how a judge may rule on the claims at hand. Favorable definitions do not guarantee a victory for Apple. However, they do make it that much easier for Apple to prevail on its claims. When taken in context of Judge Koh’s previous statements about the validity of some of Apple’s claims, it would seem that Apple’s claim construction “victory” would signal that the odds may indeed be in Apple’s favor. Only time will tell whether or not Apple is going to be victorious. We may never find out, however, as there are rumors of the potential for a settlement.
* Pierce Haar is a second-year law student at Wake Forest University School of Law and a member of the Pro Bono Board, serving as the Special Trips Coordinator. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Peace, War, and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation in May 2013, Mr. Haar intends to practice either criminal law or civil litigation.