Monday, January 14, 2013

Competitor’s Infringement of Server Load Balancing Patent Satisfies “Causal Nexus” Standard for Permanent Injunction

The court granted plaintiff's post-trial motion for a permanent injunction regarding its global server load balancing patents because there was a clear causal nexus between plaintiff's loss of exclusivity and defendant's infringement. "Some have suggested that [recent Federal Circuit decisions] herald the death, or at least the wounding, of the permanent injunction in patent cases involving hardware or software products with hundreds or thousands of components. One standard in particular – the 'causal nexus' standard – bears the brunt of this discussion. . . . [W]hatever the 'trend' of permanent injunctions in such cases, the Federal Circuit has made clear that injunctions can and should continue to issue upon the assembly and presentation of an appropriate record. . . . In the Federal Circuit’s most recent decisions regarding permanent injunctions, there is a curious absence of references to the causal nexus standard. . . . The court must confess to doubt that the causal nexus as articulated in [Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., 695 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2012)] should be required for all irreparable harms offered in support of a request for a permanent injunction. Whatever its ultimate merit where the particular irreparable harm claimed is a loss of sales, that strict standard appears to move into the irreparable harm analysis a consideration better suited for the equitable factors of balance of hardships and public interest. The court does not however have to decide this broader question here, because [plaintiff] has proven a sufficient nexus between the established infringement and irreparable harm from the loss of its exclusive right to practice its patents."

Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., et. al. v. A10 Networks, Inc., et. al., 5-10-cv-03428 (CAND January 10, 2013, Order) (Grewal, M.J.).

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