Apple loses bid to up patents award

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Apple loses bid to up patents award


Apple’s $1.05 billion damages award against Samsung Electronics from its patent-infringement trial in San Jose, California, was left intact after a judge denied Apple’s bid to increase the award.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh yesterday declined to increase the award after she found that Samsung’s infringement wasn’t willful.

The ruling was one of many post-trial decisions Koh issued yesterday denying both companies’ bids for a new trial and leaving largely untouched the jury’s finding in August that Samsung infringed six mobile-device patents.

When deciding to award Apple $1.05 billion in damages on Aug. 24, jurors found that the so-called trade dress of Apple’s iPads did not fall into the category of protectable elements. Trade dress refers to relatively vague design characteristics such as a rounded rectangular shape, thin bezel or horizontal speaker.

Apple demanded that the court overrule the jurors’ conclusion. Had Koh not denied Apple’s bid yesterday, it could have potentially tripled the fine.

Koh also rejected Samsung’s bid for a new trial as the Korean IT king argued there was “no evidence to support the jury’s findings of design patent infringement” when handing over four orders on yesterday.

The judge wrote in the ruling the “trial was fairly conducted, with uniform time limits and rules of evidence applied to both sides. A new trial would be contrary to the interests of justice.”

Koh had earlier decided two particularly important post-trial issues. On Dec. 17, the Korean-American judge turned down Apple’s request to permanently ban sales of 26 Samsung smartphones and tablet PCs the jury found infringed on Apple patents.

In the same ruling, she threw out Samsung’s demand for a new trial as the world’s top smartphone maker alleged that misconduct by the jury foreman tainted the case.

The court still has to rule on Samsung’s bid to reduce the size of the damages award. Apple “will presumably move at some point for an award of ongoing royalties for future use of its patents by Samsung - the denial of an injunction does not mean that Samsung is entitled to a freebie,” wrote Florian Mueller, a patent expert who runs FOSS Patents blog, concerning yesterday’s orders.

“And it’s a given that either party will ultimately appeal (from the final district court ruling, to which we’re now a lot closer) any unfavorable parts,” he added.

By Seo Ji-eun, Bloomberg []
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