phoneboothCross-posted at WLF’s contributor page

As we remarked in a late December 2011 Legal Pulse post, federal judges have no qualms with keeping lawyers, reporters, legal commentators, and other interested parties busy during the holiday season by releasing decisions in high-profile cases.

That has certainly been the case this week, which featured decisions from two different forums on high-tech patents. These are the latest developments in the so-called smartphone patent war, a wide-ranging battle has kept many judges busy and lawyers fully employed this year.

The first development arises from the Apple v. Samsung litigation in Judge Lucy Koh’s chambers in the Northern District of California. We’ve poked fun at that particular jurisdiction on this blog, dubbing it “The Food Court” (see, e.g. here) for being a favorite forum for food labeling class action suits. Perhaps “The Phone Booth” might be a secondary moniker.

Judge Koh’s December 17 decision could have major implications for patent litigation involving complex products, like smartphones, which feature hundreds of features. In that case, a jury in August found that features in Samsung phones infringed upon Apple patents and awarded Apple damages of over $1 billion. However, as commentators in a Recorder article noted, what Apple really wants (and what most plaintiffs in similar cases ultimately want) is a permanent injunction against Samsung, which would set Samsung back significantly in the smartphone marketplace.