Apple awarded $1.05B in Samsung patent case

Apple awarded $1.05B in Samsung patent case

Business news |
By eeNews Europe

Apple sought as much as $2.71 billion in damages from the jury and said it expected to gain at least $500 million if any infringement was found.

The nine-person jury here found that many Samsung phones in question violated most of Apple’s two design and three utility patents. However, the jury found that Samsung’s tablets do not infringe Apple’s iPad design patent.

As a result, Apple is more likely to press the patents under consideration in this case in other patent lawsuits as well as in private negotiations with Android smartphone makers.

The judge in the case set a Sept. 20 hearing to determine whether to set an injunction against selling in the U.S. any of the products found to be infringing. Those products are generally a set of about 12 Samsung Galaxy S and S II handset models.

Samsung said it will appeal the decision, saying the verdict will lead to "fewer choices, less innovation and potentially higher prices."

The decision validates the strength of at least four Apple patents in the case, the exception being a design patent on the industrial design of the iPad. The jury also found that Samsung violated registered and unregistered trade dress, a reference to product "look and feel," on both the original and 3GS iPhones. The jurors did not buy Apple’s argument about the look and feel of the iPad, however.

Apple did not infringe any of the five utility patents Samsung alleged, including two patents Samsung considered part of the 3G cellular standard. However, the jury found that Apple failed to show that the patents were invalid or that Samsung had broken contractual agreements or antitrust law regarding how the Korean company pursued the patents and their licensing.

Apple and Samsung both worked hard to show the other side’s patents were invalid, bringing in many examples of what they claimed were prior art along with expert witnesses, including top academics. Ultimately, the jury held that all patents were valid.

The jury’s verdict came in at 2:30 p.m. local time Friday. Judge Lucy H. Koh had the verdict form consisting of 33 multi-part questions read into the record at about 4 p.m. local time. Both sides then reviewed the verdict for any possible errors.

Jurors had to answer each charge of infringement for each accused device. In the case of accusations against Samsung, charges were brought against both the parent company in Korea and two U.S. subsidiaries.

In the majority of cases, the jury found most of the alleged Samsung phones violated Apple’s two design and three utility patents. They also found in most cases inducement to infringe and willfulness.

The strength of the jury’s decision for Apple and against Samsung could weigh heavily on any decision to set punitive damages based on the findings of willfulness, a determination the judge will make later.

After reviewing the complex decision. Judge Koh found two errors. The jury awarded about $219,000 in damages for infringement involving the Galaxy Tab LTE even though it found that the device did not infringe Apple’s patents. In addition, it found the Samsung Intercept handset did not infringe but cited it in inducement, a legal impossibility.

Judge Koh pointed out the errors to the jury and instructed them to continue deliberations to resolve the $2.5 million question. After a short deliberation, the jury determined neither device infringed and eliminated the associated damages.

The legal confusion speaks to the complexity of the case covering more than a dozen products, four corporate entities and ten patents.

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