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MAR
1
2 YEARS

Judge Slashes Apple's $1 Billion Victory Over Samsung

Damages shrink by $450 million and a new trial will be held to determine damages over Samsung's utility patent infringement.

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Apple's iPad

Cutting a huge chunk out of a $1 billion jury verdict? There's an app for that.

The judge who presided over Apple's patent and trademark lawsuit against Samsung last summer has determined that the jury made a mistake in coming up with damages and has slashed the award by more than $450 million.

After the August verdict, there was, of course, an appeal, as well as the parties' respective attempts to get the judge to up and lower the amount of damages awarded.

On Friday, Apple lost a bid to increase damages while Samsung prevailed on one point that will mean a new trial on damages for several products.

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After a review of how the jury came up with $1 billion -- or $1.05 billion for those who like to round to the nearest $50 million -- it was determined that the jury awarded 40 percent of Samsung's profits on a wide range of products, and in some cases, added Apple's lost profits.

In some instances, like trade dress and design patents, that's fine, but not with respect to infringement on "utility patents," which protects a new and useful process.

Among the utility patents that Apple had alleged Samsung had violated was one that covered enlarging documents by tapping the screen, the bounce-back effect that a mobile user sees when scrolling down to the end, and the pinch to zoom feature.

"The jury's award was apparently based on Samsung's profits, which is an impermissible type of compensation for utility patent infringement," writes Judge Lucy Koh.

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Had the jury calculated solely on Apple's lost profits rather than the infringer's profits, the jury award might have been in the clear, but now, the judge says it is "tainted."

Judge Koh also notes that the jury's awards for patent infringement was based on an Apple expert's numbers using a calendar date that Samsung was put on notice. But the judge says that the jury may have been told a too early notice date, which might have resulted in "excess compensation covering the period before Samsung had notice of the relevant IP."

The judge eventually concludes that a new trial be conducted on damages for 14 different products and strikes $450,514,650 from the jury's award. The two companies now go back to court.

Here's the ruling.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner