updated 03:00 am EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Samsung appeals verdict: Apple appealing damages retrial, inter-trial orders
Days after the final judgements were rendered in the post-trial matters related to the first Apple-Samsung US patent trial from 2012, Samsung filed an appeal of the jury's decision. Now Apple has done the same, filing an appeal on selected decisions made during the trial -- including some of Judge Lucy Koh's orders (specifically her two decisions refusing to implement product bans on 23 violating Samsung devices) and the limited damages retrial.
Although Apple won big in both the jury trial and in the limited damages retrial, it has taken issue with a number of decisions Judge Koh made in the course of the trial -- including the limited damages retrial itself. In Apple's view, Judge Koh failed to adequately sanction Samsung and its law firm Quinn Emanuel for various courtroom and extraneous legal shenanigans, did not assign a proper punishment to Samsung (mostly in the form of product bans) for its conviction on copying and infringement charges, and erred in calling for a limited damages retrial to recalculate damages from a portion of the jury's award that was deemed insufficiently specific.
In the original jury trial, Apple had all of its patent claims vindicated and was awarded just over $1.05 billion in damages, an amount that could have been tripled if the judge had decided that the patent stealing was willful. In the limited damages retrial, a second jury again gave Apple the bulk of what it asked for, but the total amount awarded was reduced from $1.05 billion to $929 million. While none of the Samsung products challenged in the first trial are still being made, Apple believes that not enforcing the conviction with product bans encourages both Samsung and other companies to infringe patents that make their products profitable -- reckoning that sales injunctions will take too long to have any effect on the product during its sales cycle.
It also believes Judge Koh's reasoning in denying the sales injunctions creates "too high a bar" for it and other companies to successfully cross. Koh invented a concept called the "causal nexus" where a disputed patent must, in effect, be one of the primary reasons why a customer would buy one product over another (for example, the iPhone 5s' Touch ID feature) before infringement of the patent rises to the level that requires a sales ban. Apple argues that a real threat of product injunctions in a timely fashion would dissuade patent copiers from engaging in the practice in the first place.
An appeals court agreed with Apple's view in part, and ordered Judge Koh to reconsider her original refusal to grant a sales ban, but on reconsideration she again found in Samsung's favor. The appeals court is likely to hear Samsung's appeal of the entire verdict alongside Apple's more selective appeal as one case, though no hearings have been scheduled for the appeal process as of yet.
Samsung and Apple will go head-to-head again in a second trial based on different patents in front of Judge Koh at the end of this month. In that case, Apple will be arguing that Samsung has violated another five of its patents, and in pre-trial hearings Judge Koh has already ruled that Samsung is guilty on one of the charges.
She also threw out one of Samsung's initial five patents as invalid due to prior art, and Samsung has since withdrawn all of its claims relating to standards-essential patents, leaving it with just two claims from two patents.Ironically, they will also have to work as allies in a lawsuit filed against both companies by ZiiLabs over yet another group of patents.