The last time we spoke about injunctions, we described what they are and how to obtain them. These effective, if hard to get, remedies play a pivotal role in New York litigation, in all sorts of disputes, ranging from those involving businesses large and small, to neighbors fighting over a boundary line. Illustrating how they have been used is a good way to know how they can be used to effectively protect your business’ rights and interests in New York.
One of the biggest recent commercial disputes in which a preliminary injunction played a key role was the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung Electronics, in which Apple claimed that Samsung smartphones and tablet computers impinged on Apple’s patents for its versions of those products. Apple twice asked the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to issue a preliminary injunction forbidding the sale and distribution of Samsung’s Tab 10.1 tablet. The first time, the court refused because it held that Apple was not likely to succeed on the merits at trial. The second time, after the appellate court ruled that Apple was likely to succeed on the merits, at least as to the enforceability of its relevant patent, the trial court issued the preliminary injunction. That was a large victory in an even larger case. Apple and Samsung are two of the largest competitors in the tablet computer market and one was ordered not to sell its product anywhere in the United States, even before the merits of the dispute could be fully decide at trial. According to news reports, Samsung sells approximately 300,000 tablets in the United States every three months. That is a large amount of product that a major corporation no longer could sell and a large share of the tablet computer market that no longer was available for the purchasing public to buy.