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Samsung to fight Apple smartphone trial verdict

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Published : 2014-05-06 21:09
Updated : 2014-05-06 21:09

Samsung Electronics Co. will challenge a jury’s $120 million award to Apple Inc. in a patent-infringement verdict that was “unsupported by evidence,” a lawyer for the Korean company said.

Samsung will ask the trial judge and an appeals court, if necessary, to reduce the damages awarded by the jury May 2 and yesterday to zero, John Quinn, a lawyer for the maker of Galaxy smartphones, said in a statement.

Apple sought as much as $2.2 billion in damages in the companies’ second U.S. trial as the world’s top two smartphone makers seek to dominate a market that was valued at $338.2 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Samsung had 31 percent of industry revenue, compared with 15 percent for Apple, whose share of the market has shrunk as the touch-screen interface has become more commonplace and Samsung, LG Electronics Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd. have introduced lower-cost alternatives.

The jury’s verdict, which included findings of infringement by both companies, sets the stage for each to seek a judge’s order banning U.S. sales of some older devices found to have copied its technology.

“Of course we’re pleased that the jury awarded Apple 6 percent of what they were asking for,” Quinn said in the statement. “But even that can’t stand, because Apple kept out all the real world evidence and didn’t produce anything to substitute for it, so you have a verdict that’s unsupported by evidence ― and that’s just one of its problems.”

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Quinn’s statement.

She said earlier that the jury’s verdict “reinforces what courts around the world have already found: that Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products.”

The verdict is the eighth-largest jury award in the U.S. this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the fourth-largest jury award in a patent case this year.

After the judge said there was a possible error in the verdict jurors issued May 2, the panel reviewed its calculations yesterday and made some modifications, while leaving the total amount of damages the same.

Michael Risch, a professor at Villanova University’s law school, said he interprets Quinn’s statement to mean that he thinks the damages analysis presented by Apple at the trial “was so unhinged from reality that it could not support any damages.”

“Samsung will likely appeal,” Risch said in an email. “At this stage an appeal is cheap, even if the total can be reduced by $10 million-$20 million.”

Apple won infringement findings on three of its five patents at issue in the case. Jurors also found that Apple infringed one of two Samsung patents at issue and awarded $158,000 in damages to the maker of Galaxy smartphones.

The jury of four women and four men heard almost four weeks of evidence in the same courtroom where the first trial was held two years ago. The second case revolved around whether Samsung used features in Google Inc.’s Android operating system that copied the iPhone maker’s technology.

Apple was awarded $930 million in the first trial. In that case, which involved earlier models of smartphones and tablets, Apple’s request for an order barring sales of infringing Samsung phones was rejected by Koh. Apple has said the ban was more important to it than monetary damages.

In the second trial, Apple claimed 10 Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S3, infringe five of its patents. The patents cover a range of user-interface designs for the iOS software that powers iPhones and iPads.

Samsung contended that five Apple devices, including the iPhone 5 and versions of the iPod, infringe two of its patents. Samsung sought $6.2 million in damages.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-cv-00630, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose). (Bloomberg)

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