6 Comments

Summary:

Apple is taking steps to end some of its long-running patent battles — but not with Samsung. It asked a San Jose judge for a recount on a jury award and for an injunction on Galaxy products.

Good news for lawyers: they get to feed on Apple and Samsung’s interminable patent dispute for a while longer. Apple last week asked a San Jose court for permission to begin a fourth trial in three years, and both sides filed a slew of paperwork asking for a recount of a recent jury verdict.

For anyone out there still keeping score, all this relates to an April trial over smartphone patents that concluded with an approximately $119 million award for Apple and a smaller award for Samsung.

As I argued at the time, the trial was a waste of time for all but fanboys and lawyers since the outcome will have little effect on the market share or bottom line of either company. Nevertheless, the old enemies appear eager for more legal jousting.

Apple’s filing (see below) shows it is seeking: a tripling of the the recent verdict; interest payments; a new trial on infringement and damages issues; an injunction that would bar Samsung from selling Galaxy, Admire and Stratosphere products.

Given the outcome of the previous trials, however, Apple has a chance to get more money but an injunction is a long-shot.

Samsung, meanwhile, appears to be seeking minor tweaks to how the jury calculated the damages (filings show an expert affidavit, but the main document is under seal).

All of this, needless to say, is unlikely to yield anything beyond more legal bills.

The latest legal outburst comes at a time of patent detente on other fronts. Earlier this month, for instance, Apple and Google agreed to put a stop to around 20 patent disputes around the world. In the case of Samsung, however, Apple does not appear interested in a similar peace.

Here’s one of Apple’s new filings:

Apple JMOL Re Damages Etc

  1. If Apple now considers a tripling of the the recent award appropriate, how do they justify asking for $2B originally?

    Now that they’ve made up with Google, they’re beginning to look nasty and xenophobic.

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  2. You lay the blame for the continued litigation on Apple, despite the fact that Apple has a history of trying to settle the case and Samsung has very publicly stated they will never license anything from Apple.

    You claim “All of this, needless to say, is unlikely to yield anything beyond more legal bills” without any foundation. Apple has been doing fine with the litigation Samsung has forced it into and money is not the only purpose of the litigation. The purpose is to stop Samsung’s wholesale copying, in which they have also seen some success. It is not just a rounded rectangle, it’s everything down to the packaging, which is a case Apple has never been allowed to present. They have been forced by the court to break down their case into small segments, thereby preventing the jury from seeing the big picture and valuing the whole mess at one time.

    If you want an end to the patent system, say so. All I’m hearing now is that you want everyone to have patent rights except Apple because … Apple.

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    1. Site7000, thanks for the comment. I understand Apple’s frustration with Samsung, a company whose business model appears to based in part on copying and infringement (see this recent Vanity Fair article (http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2014/06/apple-samsung-smartphone-patent-war)

      But I still think the current litigation is misguided. I don’t propose an end to the patent system, but I think many of these smartphone patents shouldn’t have been issued in the first place. The tech in this sector evolves too fast to wrap little pieces of it up in 20 year old monopolies. Apple has a wealth of other IP tools (trade dress, etc) to protect its innovations as well as it considerable first-mover and market advantages.

      The purpose of patents and IP in general is to generate benefits for society, not rain rewards on Apple. And, as I’ve said before, all of the San Jose litigation has not, despite the headlines, had a meaningful effect on market share or bottom line.

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      1. If no litigation ever occurred between Apple and Samsung, would society be better?

        And Samsung has changed their interface (e.g., it no longer has the rubber-band effect). It seems difficult to know whether the court case affected Apple’s iPhone sales (which keeps growing even though some expected less growth this recent quarter), or Samsung’s sales which seems to be peaking (especially for their high-end models).

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  3. At this point it’s mouse nuts to continue – Go for it Apple, get everything you can.

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  4. immovableobject Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    Mike writes: “If Apple now considers a tripling of the the recent award appropriate, how do they justify asking for $2B originally?”

    Apple never wanted or intended to license their technology to competitors, and because the patents in dispute weren’t part of an industry standard required to make a functional cell phone, Apple was not obligated to make them available to any and all under FRAND (fair and reasonable) terms. They just wanted Samsung not to copy the iPhone so closely that consumers assumed that buying a Samsung phone was more of less the equivalent of buying an iPhone.

    Apple’s losses therefore are not whatever modest license fees one might conjecture that Apple could obtain for these few patents, but rather the estimated value of lost profits from lost iPhone sales due the availability of infringing Samsung phones. That’s why Apple asked for $2.2 billion. They also wanted an injection to prevent Samsung’s infringing phones to continue to be sold.

    But seeing as the jury awarded substantially less than Apple felt they were entitled to, and Samsung’s violation was found to be willful, the court has the discretion of granting a trebling of damage.

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