There are three types of "injunctions": preliminary injunctions, permanent injunctions, and exclusion orders.
A preliminary injunction can issue fairly quickly, on the order of a few months. The problem for complex electronics though is proving a nexus between the irreparable harm of infringement, usually lost market share, and the specific patents.
Permanent injunctions are issued as part of the judgment after trial. The time varies based on the complexity of the trial. The Apple v. Samsung case actually moved very quickly with a verdict in a little over a year. On appeal, Apple is arguing that a permanent injunction should have been awarded. The appeal has added almost another year.
Exclusion orders issued by the ITC can be faster, but once again depend on the complexity of the trial. Both the Samsung and Apple exclusion orders took about two years before the 60 day review period.
The delays are significant because of the relatively short product life cycles. The most advanced Samsung device in the trial was the Galaxy S2. The Samsung exclusion order only would have covered up to the iPhone 4. Therefore, the most advanced products in each case are nearing the end of their retail sales period by the time the exclusion orders go into effect.
Apple has been trying to add new Samsung devices as they are released in the second suit. The judge, however, has now refused to add the Galaxy S4 to the ongoing litigation. If Apple does achieve a permanent injunction based on a patent, it should be much faster to bring suit alleging that new products violate the injunction rather than having to start over with infringement.
The whole Patent saga has got the maximum heads turned and created headlines around the world because these two giants are involved. And of course Apple being the US based company and Samsung on other part of the world. The culture and ethics are so very different. But its good for the patent market, it has created many more job opportunities and patent industry might get more regularized.
I don't work for either of the companies, so I'm not directly impacted. I do prosecute patents on the network side of mobile technology, so the decisions on standards essential patents could affect the value of those patents. There is some flexibility when drafting a patent as to whether it will need to be standardized, but it's often dependent on the nature of the invention.
For consumers, what we're seeing here is that mobile phones have been replaced with newer models by the time the patentee can get an injunction or exclusion order, so I doubt we'll see the newest models taken off the shelves.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.