Apple & Samsung quibble about $85 million here, $450 million there


There’s no doubt that anyone looking at the Apple vs Samsung court room battles would easily be confused. Unfortunately Apple reckons that includes the judge in the case, Lucy Koh, and says her mix-up made about $85 million worth of difference.

It’s part of a complex series of legal judgements that has also led to Apple asking for a brand new trial involving some, but not all, of the patents involved in the original trial.

To try to summarize, Apple and Samsung have both accused the other of violating patents. They refused to settle their respective claims and last year the case reached court with each side presenting a first batch of claims for a two-way smackdown. The jury decided to uphold all of Apple’s claims, reject all of Samsung’s, and award a total of $1.05 billion in damages.

Earlier this month Judge Koh ruled that the verdicts involving 14 of the Samsung products had to be vacated because the jury had been basing their verdict on incorrect legal information: in short, some of the claims shouldn’t have gone to the jury because the original legal complaints by Apple to Samsung didn’t fit the timescale covered by the trial.

As the ever-superb FOSS Patents blog explains, Koh couldn’t simply reduce the damages proportionally because the jury worked out a specific damages figure for each product, not for each separate patent right. She decided to vacate the individual damage awards for each of the affected products, cutting Samsung’s damages bill by $450 million. Koh then suggested that the most practical option would be for the two sides to wait until Samsung’s appeal against the entire original verdict was complete, then decide how to handle these specific 14 products.

Samsung has made a legal filing that formally backs the idea of putting the issue of those 14 products on hold. Apple however has formally requested that these 14 products be legally split off entirely from the original case and that it be allowed to start from scratch with a new trial dealing just with these products.

It argues that it has most of the paperwork in place to deal with these products and effectively suggests Samsung is simply looking for courtroom delays so that it can carry on selling the 14 products for longer.

Just to add to the confusion, Apple says that no matter what happens with the 14 products, two of them shouldn’t be on the list anyway. It argues Koh was mistaken in ruling that the jury verdicts regarding the Galaxy SII AT&T and the Infuse 4G were among those invalidated on the time issue, meaning the $85.3 million of the damages that related to those products should not have been part of the money knocked off the total.