Apple is having what can best be described as a crappy week. First they are forced to pay $368 million to a patent troll. Then they are taunted by Samsung vis-a-vis Samsung’s lawyers hiring the UK judge that ruled against Apple. Now they are at the receiving end of judge by an American judge.
In what can be regarded as a semi coup d’état by Samsung, Judge Lucy Koh — the judge that presided over the much-publicized Apple vs Samsung trial last year — has finished processing post-trial motions and has come up with a decision: the original $1.049 billion in damages awarded to Apple by the jury is to be cut down to $598.9 million and a new trial is to take place to determine how much, if any, of the remaining $450.1 million ($1.049 billion minus $598.9 million) Samsung should be forced to pay Apple.
Judge Koh has based her ruling on two errors of the jury:
- Firstly, she determined that the jury improperly used Samsung’s profits to determine damages caused by Samsung’s infringement on Apple’s utility patents. Legally speaking, juries can use the profits of infringing company to determine damages only when design patents have been infringed.
- Secondly, Judge Koh ruled that the jury used the wrong period of time to calculate damages Samsung should pay to Apple. According to Judge Koh, damages should have been calculated from April 15, 2011 and the jury calculated damages from a date prior to that.
Judge Koh described the above mentioned errors as “an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award”.
Of course all isn’t lost for Apple. Judge Koh has refused Samsung’s request to overturn the jury’s decision that Samsung infringed on Apple’s patents — she has just revised the damages, meaning legally Samsung is still guilty of infringement of the relevant patents — and, after all, Apple is still going to get almost $600 million out of Samsung (assuming an appeals court doesn’t overturn it all). Plus Judge Koh has agreed with Apple that Apple is due damages for sale of Samsung’s infringing products that took place after the conclusion of the trial. However, most people will see this as a win for Samsung.
BOOM. Do you hear that? It is the sound of Cupertino’s house of billion dollar cards falling down, one golden brick at a time.