Published on 3 May 2014 Sections , , , ,

Samsung ordered to pay Apple $119.6m in patent lawsuit

Technology giant Samsung is ordered to pay $119.6m (£71m) to arch-rival Apple by a US court for infringing two of its patents.

During the month-long trial in a San Jose, California, federal court, Apple accused Samsung of violating patents on smartphone features including universal search, while Samsung denied wrongdoing. On Friday, the jury found the South Korean smartphone maker had infringed two Apple patents.

Apple and Samsung have been litigating around the world for three years. Jurors awarded the iPhone maker about $930m after a 2012 trial in San Jose, but Apple failed to persuade USDistrict Judge Lucy Koh to issue a permanent injunction against the sale of Samsung phones in the United States.

Some industry observers see the ongoing legal dispute as an attempt by Apple to curtail the rapid growth of phones based on Google Inc’s rival Android software. Samsung was by far the largest adopter of the operating platform.

“Though this verdict is large by normal standards, it is hard to view this outcome as much of a victory for Apple.

“This amount is less than 10 per cent of the amount Apple requested, and probably doesn’t surpass by too much the amount Apple spent litigating this case,” said Brian Love, assistant professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law.

“Apple launched this litigation campaign years ago with aspirations of slowing the meteoric rise of Android phone manufacturers. It has so far failed to do so, and this case won’t get it any closer.”

Claims of patents being infringed

The current case involves five Apple patents that were not in the 2012 trial and that cover iPhone features such as slide-to-unlock and search technology. Apple is seeking to ban sales of several Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S III, and sought just over $2bn in damages.

It will now be up to Judge Koh to decide whether a sales ban is warranted, though legal experts deem that unlikely.

“An injunction is extremely unlikely,” argued Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School. “The Federal Circuit sets a high bar.”

Responding to the verdict, Apple said the ruling reinforced its stance that “Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products.”

Samsung representatives were not immediately available for comment.

In the San Jose trial, the jury found that Samsung had infringed two patents, and the judge had ruled before trial that Samsung had infringed a third. The jury also found Apple had infringed on one of the Korean company’s own patents.

Only given fraction of damages

Samsung, which asserted a $6m damages claim, was awarded $158,400.

During the trial, the two tech leaders also sparred over how Google’s work on the software used in Samsung phones affects Apple’s patent claims. Samsung’s phones run on the Android mobile operating system developed by Google Inc.

Google was not a defendant in the case, but during the trial Samsung pointed out that some of the features Apple claims to own were actually invented by Google, and called a handful of executives from the Internet search giant to testify on its behalf.

Apple said Google shouldn’t affect how jurors analyzed Samsung’s liability, partly because Google had agreed to reimburse some of Samsung’s costs.

After the jury delivered its verdict, Apple attorneys argued that the jurors had made a technical mistake in awarding damages to Apple on a patent covering one of Samsung’s phones. Koh ordered the jurors to return on Monday to resolve the issue, which could boost Apple’s damages award by a few hundred thousand dollars.

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