Judge cuts damages in Apple/Samsung patent case by $450M

The judge who oversaw the $1.05 billion blockbuster patent infringement case between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics slashed the damages in the case by $450.5 million and ordered a new trial, giving Samsung a victory in the companies' long-running patent battle.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh reduced the jury's damage award by 43 percent, bringing it down to $598.9 million. To reduce the damages Koh removed certain devices from the order. In addition, Koh ordered a new trial to decide how much Apple should be paid for the devices that she cut from the damages.

"Because the Court has identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award, and cannot reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury, the Court hereby orders a new trial on damages for the following products: Galaxy Prevail, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Galaxy SII AT&T, Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Tab, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, and Transform," Koh wrote in her ruling.

Apple declined to comment. However, Samsung praised the ruling. "Samsung intends to seek further review as to the remaining award," Samsung said in a statement, according to AllThingsD. "We are also pleased that the court earlier found that Samsung had not acted willfully, denied Apple's request for a permanent injunction, and denied Apple's motion for increased damages."

Last summer the jury in the case decided that Samsung infringed on six Apple patents and the damage award was the largest ever for one related to patents. Despite the reduced damage award--which still could be restored--Koh wrote that Apple is entitled to more damages for sales of Samsung's products that have occurred since the jury's decision.

In reviewing the jury's decision, Koh found that the jury was not incorrect in deciding that Samsung had infringed on Apple's patents, but wrote that made two key errors in deciding the damages.  Koh wrote that the jury erred in using Samsung's profits to decide how much money Samsung owed Apple for infringing on Apple's utility patents, which is only supposed to be used for deciding damages awards when  design patents have been infringed. Koh also wrote that the jury was incorrect in deciding the time period Apple should be awarded damages for.

Koh wrote that the companies should appeal her ruling before deciding on a new trial. Patent experts said Koh's ruling could pave the way toward a settlement.

"They've made their point and the devices are no longer relevant," Christal Sheppard, a former chief patent and trademark counsel for Congress and now an assistant professor of law at the University of Nebraska, told the Wall Street Journal. "Both sides see some uncertainty in this process and there's little upside."

In December, Koh blocked a sales ban requested by Apple against Samsung products. Apple had asked for a sales ban on 26 Samsung products it said infringed on its products. However, Koh denied the permanent injunction and said Apple had failed to prove that the continued sale of the Samsung products harmed Apple's sales enough to justify the ban.

For more:
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this The Verge article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Bloomberg article

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