Samsung Ordered To Pay Apple £179m Damages

Jury decision means that Samsung must pay Apple a total of $930 million (£574m) in damages

A jury in California has ordered Samsung to pay $290m (£179m) to Apple in patent damages after a bitterly fought legal battle which leaves Samsung paying a total of $929 (£574m)

The two companies had returned to court this week to determine the final amount of damages Apple was owed, after a lengthy struggle in which the Korean manufacturer was initially ordered to pay $1.05 billion (£661m)  in August 2012, for copying Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Patent bunfight

Apple and Samsung have been locked in a patent dispute for a number of years now. Last August, a federal jury in San Jose, California, awarded Apple $1.05 billion (£661m) in damages, after a three-week trial. The jury ruled that Samsung’s infringement on Apple products was “willful.” Offending products included the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy 10.1 tablets and Samsung’s line of Galaxy S smartphones. None of Samsung’s current portfolio was affected by that ruling.

Samsung AppleSamsung of course appealed, and in March this year US District Judge Lucy Koh determined that the jurors had indeed miscalculated, when they came up with the figure of $1.05 billion to be paid to Apple. She ordered a new trial on 12 November to determine the damages to be paid.

Koh’s ruling was that a portion of the original damages – $639.5 million (£395m) – had been correctly worked out, and would stand. Another portion, totalling $410.5 million (£253m), was “vacated” and would need to be figured out again, and was the subject of this retrial,which has thus now determined that Samsung must pay $290m (£179m) out of that $410.5 million (£253m).

In the retrial Apple had been seeking to restore $380 million (£234m) of the amount cut, while Samsung recommended that the jury should award only $52 million (£33m).

The jurors’ decision now means that the total amount of damages Samsung owes Apple is $930 million (£574m).

Damaging Loss

The financial impact of the final damages amount is unlikely to have much of an impact on Samsung, but it is the lose of face that will sting Samsung executives.

“Samsung had challenged last year’s jury award but obviously intended to get more out of a retrial than a 10 percent discount (on the original damages amount), said industry observer Florian Mueller. “From Samsung’s perspective, the amount has gone from slightly more than a billion dollars to not much less than a billion dollars – almost a rounding error for companies of Apple and Samsung’s size and certainly not the “slashing” that various media reports suggested when Judge Koh merely vacated a part of the original award.”

“In an important respect, Samsung is actually in worse shape now than before,” Mueller noted in his Foss Patents blog. “The appeals court will see that two different juries, independently of each other, agreed with Apple that Samsung’s infringement caused substantial damages. It’s much harder to argue to an appeals court that two juries in a row were unreasonable than to say the same about a single jury.”

“From a strategic point of view, Apple actually scored an even more important victory over Samsung on Monday with an appeals court ruling that the district court had erred in denying Apple a permanent injunction against infringing Samsung products, giving Apple a new opportunity to obtain an injunction on remand to the district court,” Mueller said.

That injunction had sought to block the sales of Samsung’s older smartphones and tablets in the United States, but didn’t affect Samsung’s Galaxy S III for example.

However a higher stakes trial between Apple and Samsung is looming next March, as the new case covers the technology in newer smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

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