A November Federal Circuit ruling in a smartphone patent dispute between Apple and Samsung has broader implications because it clarifies the standard for obtaining a permanent injunction, Ballard Spahr partner Brian W. LaCorte says.

The Federal Circuit ruled in Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. that a judge wrongly denied Apple's request for a permanent injunction on Samsung patents that a jury found to infringe. The court said that the lower court went too far by requiring Apple to show that the patented features, which include touchscreen functions, were the sole reason consumers bought Samsung's products. It ruled that Apple only needed to show that the patented features influenced purchasing decisions or made the products more desirable.

"This gives us, nationally, very important insight into the criteria for permanent injunction relief," Mr. LaCorte said. "The patented feature has to have some connection to consumer demand, but it does not have to be the exclusive reason."

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