Judge Calls for New Trial in Apple v. Samsung, Slashes Apple’s Award by 40 Percent

Samsung claimed a victory in its epic intellectual property fight against Apple on Friday when the federal judge presiding over the case slashed by 40 percent the amount of money it must pay in damages.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh cut from $1.05 billion to $600 million the damages Samsung must pay in Apple v. Samsung, ruling that the damages awarded for a handful of products in the case must be recalculated in a new trial.

The two tech titans have been engulfed in a complex IP battle that’s been fought in several countries since 2010. The U.S. portion of their legal feud went to trial in San Jose, California, in August. A nine-member jury ruled that Samsung owed Apple $1.05 billion in damages for infringing the Cupertino company’s patents covering the design and user interface elements of the iPhone and iPad. Apple had argued its competitor willfully infringed upon those patents — which, if true, could have tripled the award — but Koh concluded in January that Samsung did not willfully infringe upon Apple’s intellectual property.

In a lengthy ruling released Friday afternoon, Koh waded further into the ongoing question of damages. She denied Apple’s request for supplemental damages and granted Samsung’s request for a new trial to reconsider the damages after finding that the method jurors used to calculate the sum directly violated instructions they’d been given.

“The Court has identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award, and cannot reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury,” Koh wrote in the 27-page ruling. “Though the Court gave a curative instruction, explicitly telling the jury that it was not allowed to apply that theory, the amount of the award made plain that the jury had applied the impermissible theory anyway.”

The phones and tablets to be considered in a new trial include the Samsung Galaxy Prevail, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Galaxy SII AT&T, Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Tab, Nexus S 4G, Replenish and Transform.

The Galaxy Prevail, in particular, was a cause for contention. While the jury determined it only violated Apple’s utility patents in the case, it awarded a hefty $57,867,383 — 40 percent of Samsung’s profits from the handset, according to Apple’s calculations. Koh did not overturn the verdict that these mobile devices infringed Apple’s IP, she only disagreed with the amount Apple had been awarded.

Koh will address other issues, such as interest accrued before judgment and evidence regarding post-verdict sales, after all appeals conclude.
By Christina Bonnington

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