Apple's $1 Billion Samsung Patent Verdict Cut By Judge
The $1.05 billion judgment arrived at last August in San Jose was reduced by Judge Koh on Friday by $450.5 million, and she set a new trial to determine the damages. In a comment, she said that the jury had not properly followed her instructions in arriving at its award. Damages had been figured in an excessive manner for a dozen Samsung products listed in the case, she said.
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Samsung had alleged that the jury had made various errors in reaching its verdict, including lack of disclosure by a juror who later became foreman. Judge Koh reviewed and dismissed those charges. In what some viewed as a short period for such a complex trial, the jury reached a guilty verdict and damages in the case Aug. 24 after 21.5 hours of deliberations.
That still leaves Samsung liable for just under $599 million in damages. Apple filed suit against Samsung in April 2011 in U.S. District Court in San Jose, a few miles down the road from its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. It was part of a worldwide legal battle between the two that saw court cases in the United Kingdom, Korea and Germany.
[ Want to learn more about what was at stake in Apple Vs. Samsung? See Apple Worked A Broken Patent System .]
On Jan. 29, Judge Koh refused an Apple motion to triple the damages due to Samsung's alleged "willful" infringement of the six of seven patents on which it had won conviction in the case.
The complex case saw Samsung counter suing Apple and seeking $399 million in damages over five of its own patents. Both suits were argued at the same time, complicating Samsung's task of getting its basic defense across to the jury. Apple's attorneys issued a closing argument that boldly asserted Samsung should not be let off with "a slap on the wrist" but should be held accountable through the levy of substantial damages.
Apple executives repeatedly took the witness stand to assert that Samsung, a close business partner of Apple and supplier of 25% of the iPhone's parts, had "ripped off" the Apple product line in designing its own Galaxy line of smartphones. Apple and Samsung together account for more than 50% of the smartphone market, with Samsung taking the market share lead over Apple worldwide at the end of 2012.
Despite decisions in the case coming out with partial wins for both parties, it is still expected to end up before the U.S. Court of Appeals for final resolution.
Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek.