Apple claims victory in Samsung patent dispute, but verdict less clear-cut

US jury orders Samsung to pay iPhone maker US$120 million, but also finds for Korean firm

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 May, 2014, 1:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2016, 1:04pm

A US jury has ordered Samsung Electronics to pay Apple US$119.6 million, far less than what Apple sought and marking a big loss for the iPhone maker in the latest round of its globe-spanning mobile patent litigation.

In a mixed verdict, jurors also found credence in Samsung's counterclaims, ordering Apple to pay its rival US$158,400 in damages.

Apple portrayed the verdict as a victory that "reinforces what courts around the world have already found: that Samsung wilfully stole our ideas and copied our products".

Samsung declined to comment as it was "inappropriate" to do so before the deliberations' official end, which is expected tomorrow after jurors tend to a missing entry in damages calculations on the verdict form.

The outcome is sharply different from a 2012 patent trial in the same court. Unlike the previous case in which Apple was a clear winner, this time Samsung prevailed in many areas.

Apple's legal team had urged jurors to make the South Korean electronics giant pay more than US$2 billion in damages for flagrantly copying iPhone features.

Samsung lawyers maintained that the legal onslaught emerged from a "holy war" Apple declared on Google-made Android software that power smartphones.

In August 2012, a separate jury in the same court decided that Samsung should pay Apple US$1.049 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features. The damage award was later trimmed to US$929 million and is being appealed.

The latest verdict came after three full days of deliberation in a patent trial that began early last month before US District Judge Lucy Koh in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose, California.

Patents at issue include unlocking touchscreens with slide gestures and automatically correcting words being typed. Samsung devices targeted by Apple include more than half a dozen smartphones from the Galaxy line, and the Galaxy 2 tablet.

Samsung, in a countermove, accused Apple of infringing on patents related to transmitting digital video and storing digital images.

Brian Love, a Santa Clara University law professor who followed the case, said the outcome "feels like a defensive victory for Samsung". "Though this verdict is large by normal standards, it is hard to view this outcome as much of a victory for Apple."

He noted that the award was less than 10 per cent of the amount that Apple had requested and likely just covers the company's legal expenses in the case.

The verdict was also seen as a victory for Google, which, while not a party in the case, was billed by Samsung attorneys as Apple's main target.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters