Samsung patents payout to Apple slashed

Apple is seeking further damages. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Apple is seeking further damages. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A US judge has slashed the $1 billion (£664 million) damages award a jury ordered Samsung Electronics to pay Apple after a high-profile trial over the rights to the design and technology running some of the world’s most popular smartphones and tablet computers.

Federal judge Lucy Koh lowered the damages awarded to Apple by $450.5 million for 14 Samsung products, including some products in its hot-selling Galaxy line-up, saying jurors had not properly followed her instruction in calculating some of the damages.

She also concluded that mistakes had been made in determining when Apple had first notified Samsung about the alleged violations of patents for its trend-setting iPhone and IPad.

Koh ordered a new trial to recalculate damages for those products.

Apple declined to comment on Koh’s ruling, which reduced Samsung Electronics’ bill to just under $599m. She said the bill will probably increase after the appeals of both companies are resolved.

Apple is seeking more damages and Samsung a complete dismissal of the case in the US Court of Appeals. The new trial to recalculate the damages could also increase the award.

Still, the ruling was the second significant setback in Koh’s courtroom since the headline-grabbing verdict was announced.

In December, Koh refused to order a sales ban on the products the jury found infringed Apple’s patents. She said that Apple failed to prove the purloined technology is what drove consumers to buy a Samsung product instead of an Apple iPhone or iPad. Samsung says that it continues to sell only three of the two dozen products found to have infringed Apple’s patents.

After a three-week trial closely followed in Silicon Valley, the jury decided that Samsung ripped off the trailblazing technology and sleek designs used by Apple to create its revolutionary iPhone and iPad. Jurors ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion.

Apple filed another lawsuit last year accusing Samsung’s newer line of products of continuing to use technology controlled by Apple. Koh has scheduled a trial in that case for early next year. She has implored both companies on several occasions to settle their difference with little success.

Apple filed its patent infringement lawsuit in April 2011 and engaged legions of America’s highest-paid patent lawyers to demand $2.5bn from its top smartphone competitor. Samsung Electronics fired back with its own lawsuit seeking $399m.

The jury found that several Samsung products illegally used such Apple creations as the “bounce-back” feature when a user scrolls to an end image, and the ability to zoom text with a tap of a finger.

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