Press Release Patent Reform

Public Interest Groups Ask Appeals Court to Consider Public Interest in Apple v. Samsung Case

November 2, 2015

This afternoon, Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief in the Apple v. Samsung litigation before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In that case, Samsung is asking the Federal Circuit to reconsider its decision authorizing an injunction prohibiting the sales of certain Samsung cell phones.

In ordering the injunction, a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit said that “the public interest strongly favors an injunction” because “the public interest nearly always weighs in favor of protecting property rights in the absence of countervailing factors.” The amicus brief called for the full Federal Circuit to reconsider those statements.

The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge:

“As defenders of the public interest, we were greatly concerned last month when we saw that the Federal Circuit panel had made the hasty assumption that the public interest 'nearly always' favors patent owners. While patents can certainly do public good by encouraging new inventions, we know all too well today that too much enforcement of patents can harm the public.

“Our brief reminds the Federal Circuit that patent rights should only go so far as necessary to benefit the public interest overall. It would be a serious and harmful error to make a blanket assumption that the public interest 'strongly' favors increased patent rights like injunctions, as the panel decision did.

“This decision is just one more in a long line of simplistic rules about patent law, rules that the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down over the last few years. We hope that the en banc Federal Circuit will carefully consider the importance of the public interest in deciding whether to rehear the Apple v. Samsung appeal.”

The brief is available here.