Apple denied retrial in Californian Samsung patent case

The court also denied most of Apple's other motions

Apple will not be allowed a new trial on damages for infringement of its patents by Samsung Electronics, a U.S. court decided Monday.

Apple had asked Judge Lucy Koh in the San Jose division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for a retrial over some patents. It made the request after a jury awarded it US$119.6 million in damages in May, much less than the $2 billion it had asked for.

The company contended among other things that it was "manifestly unfair" for the court to allow Samsung to tell the jury at various points that Apple does not and has never practiced some of the asserted patents, without giving Apple a chance to rebut, according to an order filed with the court. Apple argued it was unfair for the court to allow the jury to reach a verdict and calculate damages based on "false information," which prejudiced Apple, according to the order.

However, Judge Koh concluded that the information was not false. "With respect to Samsung's arguments that Apple never practiced the asserted claims in the past, the court fails to see how Samsung's assertions were 'false' given that this court explicitly gave Apple the opportunity to present its evidence of past practice of the asserted claims, and Apple's evidence was weak at best," Koh said. Moreover, Apple did not obtain any expert opinion that Apple practiced those claims, as Apple expressly conceded, she added.

Koh also swept aside Apple's other arguments for a retrial.

"Ultimately, even crediting Apple's concerns, the circumstances of this case do not reach the high standard under Rule 59, which permits the court to grant a new trial only in rare situations where necessary to 'prevent a miscarriage of justice'," she said, denying the request.

She also denied the majority of Apple's requests to overrule the jury verdict. A district court is allowed to grant judgment as a matter of law "when the evidence permits only one reasonable conclusion and the conclusion is contrary to that reached by the jury," according to the order.

However, she granted Apple's request for supplemental damages. "The Court agrees that an award of supplemental damages is necessary here, as there are sales for which the jury did not make an award, because they occurred after the jury reached its verdict," Koh said, adding that this would include sales of the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II.

The amount of supplemental damages will not be calculated before the court enters final judgement. The court will determine the per-sale amount on a product-by-product basis, and use that per-sale amount to determine the supplemental damages amount for each product that has remained on the market for any post-verdict period, Koh said. Because the jury returned an award for each product separately, the court can simply divide the jury award for each product by that product's number of sales to calculate this per-product amount, she added.

Apple was also awarded prejudgment interest, which is meant to compensate the patent owner for the use of its money between the date of injury and the date of judgment. Because both parties have indicated that they may challenge the legal sufficiency of the jury's award, it will be more efficient to calculate prejudgment interest after appeal, when the final amount of the judgment is known, Koh said.

Late in August, Koh also denied Apple's request for an injunction on U.S. sales of infringing Samsung products, including the Galaxy S III smartphone because the company failed to convince the court that people were buying Samsung products because of the infringing features. Apple will appeal that ruling.

Following the court's refusal to ban sales of the infringing products, Apple asked Koh last week to award it monetary damages for continuing infringement of three of its patents by Samsung.

The case at issue is second Californian patent case in which Apple has scored a major victory against Samsung. In the last, it won final damages of about $930 million from Samsung, reduced from $1.05 billion in a retrial.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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