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Federal judge says Samsung had reasonable reason to believe that Apple's patents were invalid

It's been a rough couple weeks for Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  Word is that the company is losing its once tight grip on suppliers and carriers, which allowed it to squeeze profit margins to over 44 percent -- and outlandish figure.  But now the margins are coming back down to Earth (slowly) and investors are hammering its stock and questioning its long term future amid more ambitious competitive hardware.

And cracks continue to accumulate in Apple's seemingly resounding court win over rival smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930).  U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh made a pivotal modification [PDF] to the jury verdict this week, siding with Samsung and nullifying the ruling that five of the patents in the case were "willfully" infringed on.

The decision, which will likely be appealed by Apple, is critical as it prevents Apple from multiplying the $1.05B USD in damages to $3B USD or more.  What's perhaps even more critical is why Samsung won.  

Samsung's legal team successfully convinced Judge Koh that while their firm was aware of Apple's patents, they had a firm belief they were invalid, hence were not willfully infringing on them in a legal sense.  Judge Koh bought that argument; the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has filed preliminary invalidation rulings regarding two of the key Apple utility patents involved in the case likely had a little something to do with that decision.

Judge Koh
Judge Koh punished Apple with a painful ruling this week. [Image Source: IB Times]

About the only bad news for Samsung was that 10 of the 15 claims on its '941 patent, a 3G "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) standards patent.  That invalidation could cut royalties to Samsung, but Apple wasn't found by the jury to infringe on that patent in the first place, so the damage to the phonemaker in the context of the case is minimal.

Given the recent invalidations and her willingness to nullify certain aspects of the jury's infringement verdict, many observers expect Judge Koh to trim the damages Samsung owes Apple.  If that happens it will be a major blow to Apple's largely fizzled legal campaign to "ban" Android and prove that the rival "stole" its technology.

Source: SBNation [The Verge] [PDF]



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Only 23,000 feet to go.
By drycrust3 on 1/30/2013 3:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
About the only bad news for Samsung was that 10 of the 15 claims on its '941 patent, a 3G "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) standards patent.

I find this sentence difficult to understand, what is the bad news?
Having read the court order, it would seem to me that Apple got the lions share of wins in this court case.
The word "DENIED" appears so many times in the court order that it isn't funny, while the word "GRANTED" is as rare as hens' teeth.
Here is the Judges final comment:
quote:
the Court GRANTS Samsung’s motion for judgment as a matter of law that claims 15 and 16 of the ’516 Patent are not exhausted. The Court also grants judgment as a matter of law that Samsung’s acts of patent infringement were not willful. However, for the reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES Samsung’s motion for judgment as a matter of law in all other respects, and DENIES Samsung’s motion for a new trial.

Sure, I realise I'm probably reading this wrong, and know next to nothing about US Law, but this says to me that Samsung still have a huge mountain to climb if they want to avoid paying the $1B.




RE: Only 23,000 feet to go.
By Mint on 1/31/2013 8:21:47 AM , Rating: 2
Samsung can pay it off without losing a step. The fine isn't what they were worried about. Sales bans were the bomb they wanted to avoid, and they did.

$1B is what, maybe 1% of Samsung's smartphone revenue in the last three years? Samsung clearly mimicked the iPhone quite closely to get its foot in the door, and later differentiated to become the smartphone juggernaut it is. If they could go back in time, they wouldn't change a thing.


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