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Judge overrules jury, says Samsung infringement not willful

updated 01:58 am EST, Wed January 30, 2013

Ruling will save Samsung billions, but still guilty and liable to Apple

Late on Tuesday, Judge Lucy Koh issued a handful of new rulings in the ongoing resolution of the first Samsung vs. Apple patent-infringement trial, which Apple won with a jury finding of willful infringement and a liability ruling of just over $1 billion. In a surprise move, the judge overruled the jury's finding of willfulness, saving Samsung a possible tripling of damages under US law. Samsung, however, lost its challenge to the jury findings overall, with Koh denying vacating motions and a proposal for a retrial.

The jury's verdict of August 24 of last year was kept largely intact, despite Samsung's challenge as to the foreman of the jury. As was widely expected, this line of inquiry went nowhere and Judge Koh rejected all Samsung's claims on the matter, preserving the overall verdict. Though Apple had hoped for a tripling of damages as a punitive measure, the bar was set sufficiently high that the judge ruled that Samsung had relied on their theory that the patents were invalid in good faith, and thus overruled the jury's finding that the infringement of Apple's patents was willful.

Koh also denied Apple's motion for enhancements in damages for trade dress copying by Samsung, letting stand the jury awards for that. In the trial, Samsung had also charged Apple with patent and trade dress infringements, but these were entirely tossed by the jury in the first trial. Koh denied Apple's motion for a new trial on aspects of the jury's decision on which it did not prevail, but also shot down Samsung's invalidity theories on one of Apple's software patents and four of its design patents. She has not yet ruled on Samsung's motion to adjust the damages award, but her preservation of most of the jury's findings signals that Samsung is unlikely to get a significant reduction or elimination of the $1.05 billion dollar award.

Apple is thus likely to ask the court for ongoing royalties for continued use of the infringing patents by Samsung, since it was denied a permanent injunction on the infringing products, says patent trial analyst Florian Mueller. The ruling leaves Samsung without any victories in any of the cases it has pressed against Apple, despite innumerable rulings.

The judge found not only Samsung's US entities to be guilty of infringement and copying Apple's designs, but the parent South Korean company guilty as well. She also reiterated a lack of any support for Samsung's original claims in the trial to be validated and the jury's finding reversed on them.

Overall, Koh's ruling is another near-complete victory for Apple, reaffirming all of Apple's claims in the trial and again denying all of Samsung's claims. The new ruling and the remaining judgements on whether Samsung will get a new trial specific to adjusting the awarded damages does not affect the second Apple vs. Samsung trial, which challenges the validity of another set of patents as well as Apple's charge of SEP abuse against Samsung, which could have more serious ramifications if Apple continues its winning streak. That trial is scheduled to start in March of 2014.

Orders on Motions for Judgment as Matter of Law by

Denial of Enhancements by

by MacNN Staff



  1. beb

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 01-29-02

    Apple should use its one billion dollar trial winning and add another billion or two to purchase shares of Samsung. They seem to have plenty of cash these days. If the competition is going to copy you regardless, why not make some money in the process? Courts are ineffective in these cases. Accordingly, Apple should have a vested interest in Samsung's success.

  1. DrSkywalker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-29-11

    And there it is... proof that we have a Legal System, NOT as Justice System, with contrived rules and regulations to suit its own ends and not those of the populace, and within which the rulings of a jury of peers can be expunged with the stroke of a pen.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    DrSkywalker, you may not have read the article (or the attachments) properly, but you're mistaken. To put it as simply as possible, the jury's verdict was preserved in nearly every aspect. A few aspects of the case were -- by mutual agreement between the parties -- to be reviewed and decided by the judge (for example, in several parts of the ruling the jury made contradictory findings). Because the jury's award could be tripled (which the jury has no say in), the judge reviewed the award and decided that it is good as is -- yes, she "overruled" the jury's finding of willful copying, but only because her review of the record persuaded her that Samsung relied on a flawed premise to infringe, the infringement wasn't willful ENOUGH to warrant a tripling of damages.

    The original jury findings and award of damages are PRESERVED, not altered. Sorry you didn't seem to understand that.

    (this post does not mean to imply that I don't think the rich have an entirely different system of justice than the poor, however -- just that you picked the wrong case on which to base your premise.)

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