In Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., Appeal Nos. 2015-1171, -1194, -1195, the Federal Circuit overturned a district court’s judgment ordering Samsung to pay nearly $120 million to Apple.
Regarding the first Apple patent that Samsung was found to infringe, the Federal Circuit disagreed with the district court’s conclusion that there was evidence to show Samsung’s product practiced the “analyzer server” limitation of one infringed patent. The claim construction required that the “analyzer server” be “run separately from the program it serves.” The Federal Circuit found that Apple’s expert testimony actually supported Samsung’s non-infringement argument and that there was no evidence to support Apple’s infringement claims. Consequently, the court reversed the denial of Samsung’s motion for JMOL of non-infringement.
Regarding the other two patents Samsung had been found to infringe, the Federal Circuit disagreed that the claims were not obvious in light of the combination of prior art references. The Federal Circuit found a motivation to combine the references because “mere disclosure of more than one alternative” is not teaching away. Moreover, the Federal Circuit dismissed Apple’s secondary considerations of nonobviousness as “weak” in part because Apple’s surveys and studies could not tie the iPhone’s commercial success to the patented features.
The Federal Circuit also affirmed the infringement judgment for one of Samsung’s patents. The court reasoned that even though Apple’s chips may use separate components to perform the claim limitations, “a jury may still have reasonably concluded that the chip (not the individual components) performs [the] steps” and meets the claim limitations. The court further reasoned that in light of Samsung’s expert testimony, a jury could have reasonably concluded that Apple’s products practiced the remaining limitations of the claim.