Sunday, 3 March 2013

Back to court for Apple, Samsung over monster damages award

Liability for patent infringement,
summarised in a single word
PatLit thanks IP Finance blog team member Mike Mireles for this link to "Judge orders new Samsung, Apple faceoff; strikes $450 million in damages", by Greg Botelho, and hosted on CNN. According to this article, in relevant part:
"Samsung and Apple were ordered Friday to stand off in court once again after a federal judge struck [note for British readers: this appears to be a US idiom, meaning "subtract"] more than $450 million that a jury last August ordered Samsung to pay Apple. "Some of the awards rested on impermissible legal theories," U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh wrote in her ruling. The jury had awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages total after finding Samsung had copied both the design and software features of the iPhone [for some background see earlier Katpost here].

The new "trial on damages" affects the formula, and thus the amount, that Samsung must pay to Apple. ...   Just under $600 million of the earlier award to Apple involving other Samsung products still stands, according to Koh.

... After sifting through 109 pages of jury instructions and their notes and memories from weeks of testimony, a nine-person jury found Samsung was guilty of "willful" violations of a number of Apple's patents and recommended that Apple get more than $1 billion in compensation. The jury did not recommend awarding Samsung any money in its counterclaims.

... Judge Koh issued a ruling denying Samsung's request for a new trial based on the company's claim the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, was prejudiced against the company because he had been sued by Seagate, his former employer. Samsung became the largest investor in Seagate after selling a division to the hard-drive maker in 2011".
While it is gratifying to see that the selection of an inappropriate methodology of damages calculations in US patent infringement trials is a basis upon a further trial may be ordered, it would be even more gratifying if the basis upon which damages awards were made in the United States was sufficiently stable and predictable to enable successful claimants and infringing defendants alike to know the likely range within which an award might be made.  This would surely assist both sides in reaching a reasonable settlement without the need to press a claim as far as a ruling and to extend the period of uncertainty that hangs over one of the most time-limited of all intellectual property rights.

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