Judge slashes Samsung damages to Apple by US$450 million
New trial possible after US$450m slashed from jury's award in patent infringement case
Agence France-Presse in San Francisco
A judge on Friday cut US$450 million from a US$1 billion award to be paid by Samsung in a landmark patent lawsuit from Apple, saying a jury had wrongly calculated the damages.
US District Judge Lucy Koh affirmed the remainder of the award, amounting to US$598.9 million, in the patent infringement case, while denying Apple's request for a bigger penalty.
The decision marked the latest twist in the blockbuster trial pitting the maker of the iPhone against the surging South Korean electronics giant.
Apple had accused its rival of massive and wilful copying of its designs and technology for smartphones and tablets.
But Koh said the jury erred in calculating damages for some of the devices in question, including some models of the Galaxy SII smartphone and Galaxy Tab tablet, and struck down as invalid the US$450 million awarded to the Silicon Valley giant.
She ruled that a new trial would be needed to award damages for those items, because an "impermissible legal theory" the jury used to calculate the award means that she "cannot reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury".
But Koh encouraged both parties to have the case reviewed by an appellate court before any new trial.
The judge allowed the award to stand for 14 products, including some Galaxy smartphones and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, leaving an award of US$598.9 million.
The jury relied on Apple's calculation for lost profits dating back to 2010, when it first told Samsung of its objections, but Koh said that in most cases, the damages could only cover the period after the lawsuit was filed in April 2011.
The judge said Apple could have averted a new trial if it had not pursued an "aggressive" strategy by using an expert report based on a long period of infringement.
Samsung said in a statement that it was "pleased" with the decision to reduce the damages and added that the company "intends to seek further review as to the remaining award".
There was no immediate comment from Apple.