Second Apple-Samsung lawsuit in California to go ahead

The judge had earlier said she might consider putting the case on hold pending resolution of an appeal in another lawsuit

A judge in California has ruled that a patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung Electronics will continue, after indicating earlier that she would like to put the case on hold pending resolution of an appeal in another patent dispute between the two companies before the same court.

The two sides will, however, be required "to limit their asserted patent claims and accused products to twenty-five per side," Judge Lucy H. Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division, wrote in her order. The judge also plans to put a limit on the number of experts produced by each side. Unlike in the other case, the court "will not permit the parties to involve over fifty experts in this litigation," she wrote.

Apple, which brought the cases against Samsung, wants them to proceed in parallel, while an attorney for Samsung, which has countersued, stressed the overlap between the cases. Both companies have included some of each other's recent product introductions to the list of infringing products in the lawsuit.

Samsung filed in November to amend its infringement contentions to include the iPad mini and latest versions of the iPod touch and iPad, among other changes, as the products were released by Apple after Samsung submitted its original infringement contentions on June 15, and a motion to supplement on Oct. 1 that added the iPhone 5 to products that allegedly infringe its patents.

Apple also filed for leave to amend its contentions to include Samsung's Galaxy S III running the Android Jelly Bean operating system, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Tab 8.9 running Ice Cream Sandwich, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, the Rugby Pro, and the Galaxy S III Mini.( It later dropped the Galaxy S III Mini from the infringing products after the South Korean company said it had no immediate plans to release the product in the U.S.

In joint status report before the court last week on the continuation of the litigation, Apple argued that there wasn't an overlap between the two suits before the court as there was a difference in the patents alleged to have been infringed by Samsung, infringing products and their accused functionality. Of the 23 accused Samsung products in the case, only two are at issue in the other, and the accused features of those products differ completely, it added.

Most of the products are new and based on recently released versions of the source code of the Android operating system, Apple said. The company said it would be harmed by a stay of the lawsuit as "Samsung will continue to capture first-time smartphone buyers with continued sales of accused infringing products as well as sales of additional newly launched infringing products."

Apple claims that Samsung infringes in the Quick Search Box of Galaxy Nexus, one of the allegedly infringing products, a unified search feature used in the Siri voice assistant, which is disclosed in a patent bearing U.S. patent number 8,086,604. Another patent in the case is 5,666,502, known as the "history list" patent, which describes a way of making text entry easier on a small device by presenting users with a list of previously typed terms.

Samsung's position is that a stay of the second suit will, among other things, promote judicial economy, and avoid wasting the time of the court and the jury.

In the other lawsuit before the court, a jury decided in August that Samsung must pay Apple US$1.05 billion for infringing several of its patents in Samsung smartphones and tablets. But Apple's gains were whittled down recently when the judge cut about $450 million from the award, and ordered a retrial to determine the correct damages related to about a dozen of the Samsung smartphones and tablets at issue in the trial. Judge Koh said the jury had applied an "impermissible legal theory" when calculating the damages. Earlier the judge had denied Apple a permanent injunction on several Samsung products.

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John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
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