Last Friday, there was a court hearing to discuss Samsung's request to examine Apple's next-generation, high-profile mobile devices: the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, but Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the Samsung vs. Apple case has ruled in Apple's favor. The good news for Apple is that Samsung's motion is denied at least for the time being.
Apple might still have to wait on obtaining preliminary injunction against Samsung's ability to sell their devices in question in the United States.
In its opposition to such a motion, Samsung can still "raise the possible introduction of next generation products", says the judge, and explains this in more detail:
Samsung is free to argue, for instance, that there is little likelihood of confusion because consumers will not encounter its products side-by-side with the iPhone 4 or iPad 2, but rather with Apple's next generation iPhone and iPad. Similarly, as to proximity, Samsung is free to argue that because the iPhone 4 and iPhone 2 will soon be outmoded and reduced in price, they are not being sold (or very soon will not be sold) to the same class of purchasers who are likely to buy new Samsung products. By choosing to allege infringement only of its current products, Apple opens itself up to these arguments.
If Apple requested an injunction against the Galaxy phones, Samsung would certainly argue that a new iPhone will be released in the near term. The judge also notes "that Apple's past history of releasing a new iPhone each June over the past four years supports an inference that the next generation iPhone will be forthcoming." Samsung could argue that Apple's next-generation devices will be different in appearance, resolving Apple's argument that the appearance of their devices has been copied by Samsung. Apple, of course, will not reveal the design and features for unreleased products.
If Apple can present the iPhone 5 to the court and show that the alleged problem of "consumer confusion" is essentially the same as currently (in terms of similarities between the Galaxy handset and the iPhone 4), Apple's motion for an injunction is no less likely to succeed (though it's clear that Samsung would try to overstate any possible differences in design).
FOSS Patent's Florian Mueller says that Apple would have the best chance in accomplishing injunction against Samsung if they only motion for injunction when the iPhone 5 arrives later this year- or when Apple wants to show their next-generation smartphone to the court (which will likely never happen prior to the public reveal):
If Apple would rather avoid this kind of impression, it might want to proceed cautiously and wait with a preliminary injunction motion until the iPhone 5 can be shown, or present only a tablet-related motion in the very near term and a smartphone-related one a little later.
[via: FOSS Patents]