Samsung makes case for retrial as Apple swishes aside arguments
7th Dec 2012 | 02:22
Wait, this looks familiar
Round two of the Apple vs. Samsung patent trial got underway in San Jose, Calif. Thursday, though instead of four weeks the two sides got the arguments out in three and a half hours.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that the court reporter quipped, "Deja vu all over again," as she walked into the room, and in many respects she was right.
Today's hearing visited the fallout of the $1.05 billion (UK£652 million, AU$1.01 billion) ruling that befell Samsung in August, with the South Korean company looking to convince U.S. District judge Lucy Koh to reduce or toss the verdict that led to the damages.
Apple's ploy was to increase the reward by another $121 million (UK£75.3, AU$115) in supplemental damages plus place a ban on a handful of Samsung Galaxy tablets and smartphones.
No ruling was issued today - Koh said her orders will come in installments, but wants things to wrap before 2013.
The first order up was damages, with Koh expressing concern that the amount awarded was "not really authorized by the law" because Samsung was found to infringe on utility patents for certain products, not design patents.
She did say that if the damages were correctly issued, she will uphold the awards.
Part of Samsung's arguments naturally rested on the inappropriate allocation of damages. Samsung pointed out the Prevail - a phone that has only sold 2 million handsets - led to a charge of $58 million (UK£36, AU$55.3) from the court.
The company's lawyers said they had gone through the ruling, vetting through the awards and reconstructing the figures to find how much had gone for which products and why.
It was through this process that Samsung's attorneys say they discovered the jury inappropriately gave Apple some of the company's profits based off utility patents. Only design patents, they said, are eligible for this type of relief.
Apple countered by saying it's inappropriate to dissect what took place in the jury room. Furthermore, Samsung can't pick at the jury's decision because it refused to come to terms with Apple before the case was brought to trial.
The South Korean company's attorneys also argued that a new trial should be granted if a single "indefinite" patent that covers the tap-to-zoom technology is thrown out. A patent must be definite or well defined to stand.
To that, Apple said the court could simply calculate a new reward based on an error in the ruling.
Koh floated the idea of holding a new trial on problematic patent findings and products, not on all damages, a course we could see her take as she issues her orders.
The South Korean team got down to saying that Apple failed to provide burden of proof on the 26 devices it accused of infringement, relying instead on a lone device to represent every patent claim it filed during expert witness examination.
What mattered, Apple reasoned to Koh, was that the jury had all the phones at their disposal during deliberations.
Samsung, by the way, now only sells three of those "violating" products, and its attorneys called Apple asking for damages for all the devices "preposterous."
Hogan is no hero
Samsung's ace in the hole was an argument that the trial jury foreman - Velvin Hogan - deliberately misled the court by withholding information that he had been sued by a former employer, Seagate.
Samsung is a major investor in Seagate.
Koh spent barely a breath on the Hogan issue, glowering at a Samsung attorney that tried to bring it back up after Koh shot initially it down with a curt "that issue is briefed."
It remains to be seen how much of a part, if any, Samsung's allegations of jury misconduct plays in these post-trial hearings.
Thursday's hearing served to demonstrate that the months since the trial haven't cleared any air between the two litigators.
Apple is seeking millions in additional damages, including for products that allegedly infringed on the iPhone 3GS, a phone it no longer sells. The original judgement, it argued Thursday, was a mere "slap on the wrist."
Samsung brought up Apple's "apology letter" published in a U.K. paper and Apple's efforts to engage in "a thermonuclear war throughout the world." It's using the courts, not the market, to win its battles.
Koh, no doubt tired of the bickering, apparently held her head in her hands at one point and pondered to the counsels, "Is there some endpoint here? Some event?"
She also broached the subject of settling.
"[I]t would be good for customers," she reportedly said. "It would be good for industry."
Apple wouldn't have any of it, while a Samsung attorney said the company is willing to come to an agreement.
"The ball's in [Apple's] court."