Huge damage award at stake as Apple, Samsung return to court next week

Judge ordered partial retrial to recalculate damages applied to Samsung infringement

The battle between Apple and Samsung over smartphone design returns to a Silicon Valley courtroom next week as the companies fight over how much Samsung should pay for infringement of five Apple patents in 13 of its smartphones.

It was just over a year ago that a jury in the same court awarded Apple US$1.05 billion in damages after finding infringement of Apple's patents in numerous Samsung smartphones. But Judge Lucy Koh cut about $450 million from the total award and ordered a partial retrial after finding the jury had used an "impermissible legal theory" in determining the amount.

The case centers on two types of patents and the jury should have used a different formula in calculating the amount owed to Apple by Samsung for infringement of each type of patent, but it didn't consistently do that, Koh said.

She also faulted Apple for misstating the date on which it notified Samsung about the infringement. As a result, some of the damages were too high, Koh said.

"[I]t was Apple's strategic decision to submit an expert report using an aggressive notice date for all of the patents. The need for a new trial could have been avoided had Apple chosen a more circumspect strategy or provided more evidence to allow the jury or the Court to determine the appropriate award for a shorter notice period," she wrote at the time.

On Nov. 12 in a District Court in San Jose courtroom, the two sides will begin selecting a jury. The trial will begin immediately after the jury selection.

The patent infringement will not be reconsidered; neither will the roughly $600 million [m] in damages that Koh didn't strike down.

"Your sole job in this trial is to determine the amount of damages to be awarded to Apple for Samsung's infringement of these patents," Judge Koh will tell jurors when their selection is complete, according to prepared jury instructions.

The case is 11-01846 at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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