Apple-Samsung return to court over $1.05bn patent ruling

Smartphone giants' patent battle rumbles on, as questions over ruling payments emerge.


Apple and Samsung were in court again yesterday, as the iPhone maker tried to convince a US district judge to ban sales of a number of the South Korean company's devices and defended its $1.05 billion jury award.

Apple scored a sweeping legal victory in August at the conclusion of its landmark case against its arch-foe, when a US jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad and awarded it damages.

Both sides re-convened on Thursday. US District Judge Lucy Koh listened to a range of arguments on topics from setting aside the jury's findings on liability to alleged juror misconduct and the requested injunction.

The hearing concluded with Koh promising to rule at a later date.

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Twenty-four of Samsung's smartphones were found to have infringed on Apple's patents, while two of Samsung's tablets were cleared of similar allegations.

Koh began by questioning the basis for some of the damages awarded by the jury, putting Apple's lawyers on the defensive.

"I don't see how you can evaluate the aggregate verdict without looking at the pieces," Koh said.

Samsung's lawyers argued the ruling against it should be "reverse engineered" to be sure the $1.05 billion was legally arrived at by the jury and said, on that basis, the amount should be slashed. Apple countered that the ruling was reasonable.

"Assuming I disagree with you, what do I do about Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, and Gem?" Koh asked Apple's lawyers, referring to the jury's calculation of damages regarding some of Samsung's devices.

Smartphone wars

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Samsung is Apple's fiercest global business rival and their battle for consumers' allegiance is helping shape the landscape of the booming smartphone and tablet industry - a fight that has claimed several high-profile victims, including Nokia.

While the trial was deemed a resounding victory for Apple, the company has since seen its market value shrink as uncertainty grows about its ability to continue fending off an assault by Samsung and other Google Android gadgets on its home turf.

Apple's stock has nosedived 18 per cent since the August 24 verdict, while Samsung's has gained around 16 per cent.

Most of the devices facing injunction are older and, in some cases, out of the market.

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Such injunctions have been key for companies trying to increase their leverage in courtroom patent fights.

In October, a US appeals court overturned a pretrial sales ban against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone, dealing a setback to Apple's battle against Google's increasingly popular mobile software.

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Some analysts say Apple's willingness to license patents to Taiwan's HTC could convince Koh it does not need the injunction, as the two companies could arrive at a licensing deal.

Apple is also attempting to add more than $500 million to the $1 billion judgment because the jury found Samsung willfully infringed on its patents. A Samsung lawyer argued against willful damages and said the base amount for calculating any potential willful damages should be just $10 million.

Samsung wants the verdict overturned, saying the jury foreman did not disclose that he was once in litigation with Seagate Technology, a company that Samsung has invested in.

"He should have been excused for cause," said Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven. "Such a juror was a juror in name only."

The juror misconduct charge is "unlikely to have much traction," said Christopher Carani, a partner at Chicago-based intellectual property law firm McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd.

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