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back to article Judge slashes Apple's pile o' cash Samsung judgment

Last August, a jury awarded Apple $1.05bn in a patent-infringement case against Samsung. On Friday, the US District Court judge who presided over that case slashed those damages by $450m. Judge Lucy Koh found that the jury had improperly calculated the amount of damages awarded to Apple, and trimmed the total down to under $600m …

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It's not what you would call pocket money is it?

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No, it's not pocket money, but it is a solid acknowledgement that the jury's award is (in its entirety) in jeopardy.

What this ruling states is that about 45% of the jury's figure came from an invalid legal theory. What it does not do is try to address whether the rest of the damages calculation was tainted, which is the subject of an appeal process. So in the appellate court proceedings, Samsung will be starting from the position that everyone (except Apple) agrees that the jury screwed up, which is pretty good place to start.

And don't forget that one of the "patents" on which Apple is still (in theory) getting damages is in the process of being invalidated (the '915 patent). If it is invalidated (on the basis that there is a metric shedload of prior art), then the damage award continues to head south...

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Silver badge

Re: the damage award continues to head south...

The damage award was always going to head south. Part of the irony of the American court system is that a huge contributor to the outrageous initial awards is that as the defendant appeals the verdict the award keeps going down until it becomes reasonable.

What's amazing in this case is how RAPIDLY the award is headed south.

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Anonymous Coward

No but if Apple alter their litigious behaviour it'll be chump change :)

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Meh

even ~600m is ridiculous

for what can only be described as a completely different phone/tablet/everything else. Surely design is only one arrow in Apple's quiver? don't they have other great as pects of their phone tha make them so desir-

no? alright then.

I wonder what Samsung will choose to do with the extra 400m? Perhaps draw up plans for a massive new headquarters in the shape on an oblate spheroid, just to grease the bearings on which Jobs' corpse spins...

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Re: even ~600m is ridiculous

They haven't had the appeal yet. This is about how much Apple gets supposing that Samsung don't overturn any of the verdict on appeal, which they most likely will. The final amount will probably be much lower.

You should see how outraged the fan boys are on sites like Apple Insider.

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Re: even ~600m is ridiculous

Apple Insider *shudder*

If ever I'm contemplating purchasing anything Apple orientated I go there and realise what I would be buying in to. The quasi-religious sycophancy of the Apple fanbois is truly astounding.

If Apple directors had been found driving Jimmy Saville to special hospital visits whilst simultaneously funding terrorism and saturating the meat market with the remains of Romanian pit ponies they would still find a way to:

a) Completely absolve them of all crimes

b) Blame Samsung.

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Big Brother

"Another slap in Cupertino's face"

And it's a face decent folk everywhere just never tire of slapping.

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Give Up the Grudge

...better shut your mouth.

This is what I say to Apple. Just give it up....and move on. Microsoft tried to fight this same battle against open source and look how that turned out. The more they fight, the more they lose. So...give it up already. Just stop whining, and join the rest of the world in reality.

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Karma

That is all.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Mushroom

Re: Karma

Nope

Android

That really is all!

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Mushroom

Agreed

Lawsuits are what happens when a company stops being innovative. Apple seems to do better when it's the underdog. So to all Apple executives now is the time to fire those lawyers and get back to work dammit.

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Silver badge

Re: Agreed

Good advice, but dangerous. The lawyers would probably sue for wrongful termination....

Which wouldn't worry me so much if it wasn't for the fact that it's 50-50 on whether they'd win. [[shudder]]]

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Trollface

So much for all those pundits who thought Koh was on Apple's side at the beginning of the trial. Its starting to look like she is one of the most independent judges in the good ole US of A.

'nuff said.

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I have a completely baseless suspicion that Judge Lucy Koh was selected for this whole Samsung / Apple thing since she is a Northern Californian (thus supposedly pro Apple) of Korean descent (thus supposedly pro Samsung).

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Re: baseless suspicion

"I have a completely baseless suspicion that Judge Lucy Koh was selected for this whole Samsung / Apple thing since she is a Northern Californian (thus supposedly pro Apple) of Korean descent (thus supposedly pro Samsung)."

Honestly that seems unlikely. Choosing a judge because she is equally biased towards both sides sounds like a very risky bet, as if one party was able to convincingly suggest that the bias is even slightly imbalanced that would be a very good basis to have her repelled. Replacing a judge in a trial (especially towards the end, as surely both party would keep that as a last-chance card) is a very, very costly and very, very lengthy process. Time and money that would almost certainly be better spent. Then again we are talking patent wars, so perhaps here "better spent" has a signification that I am too un-patent-lawyery to grasp.

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I find it easier to believe she's begun to realise quite how badly she messed up the case. Koh is racing to undo some of the damage before a higher court does it for her. Judges really hate that and it does their future career no good.

Being independent is not really a good thing in the legal system, it leaves everyone wondering WTF's going on and opens the door to abuse by all parties. In this case abuse and error reached all the way into the jury room.

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Re: baseless suspicion

Ah, sorry, you either missed my point or I expressed it poorly! I'm not suggesting that Koh is equally biased, but that the appearance of bias to one side or another can be countered with the claim of apparent bias towards the other.

It is an article of faith that federal judges are not biased (even when the notion is manifestly unsustainable). So this is an issue of appearance, not fact.

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Re: bias or incompetence

Rather than bias, I see a judge who at every opportunity chose what would get the case off her docket quickly over what would best serve justice. US judges have discretion to relax rules, this one took every opportunity to impose them strictly, regardless of the effect.

Whether that reflects bias or just incompetence, it severely tilted advantage in the case unfairly. Given how well it served Apple's cause they wouldn't have complained and would have contributed to the appearance of pro Apple bias.

I see a judge that put more effort into coercing settlement talks than running a fair trial. It's now coming back to bite her.

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Silver badge

Re: you either missed my point or I expressed it poorly!

No we got it. It's just wrong. Equally biased works out to doubly dangerous to the judicial system.

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Re: case off her docket quickly over what would best serve justice.

I don't agree with that. Getting it off her docket quickly, if the parties had accepted, would have been better than where we are headed. Bad cases make bad law, and this one is bad all the way around. And being strict in such cases is the only way to be fair. It is also the best protection against being overturned on appeal or worse disciplined because your discretion biased the trial in favor of one of the parties.

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Rol
Bronze badge

As a consumer, I'm racked off, that most of my kit has a price tag that includes the obligatory lawyers fees and punitive payments to patent wielding trolls.

How's about a crowd funded class action against the trolls for damaging our wallets?

Or

Patent the concept of speculative patent hoarding and see them all in court!

Makes my blood boil

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Anonymous Coward

Even better, a crowd action against the lawyers and patent trolls with pitchforks and burning brands...

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FAIL

Then you probably shouldn't think too hard about the car you drive, the bed you sleep in, the stove you use to cook your dinner, the ink pen you write with, the food you eat or even the house you live in.

Fact is every single company you have done business with, no matter how remotely, has had various legal fees to contend with. Which means you indirectly employee a lawyer every single time you buy something. Get over it.

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Silver badge

"How's about a crowd funded class action against the trolls for damaging our wallets?"

There's US legislation being proposed which would prevent trolling (but still protect inventors). Of course being somewhat sensible it's unliekly to ever become law.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "crowd funded class action"

You do know that class action lawsuits (as far as I am aware a uniquely American thing), only ever make money for the lawyers. Once everything is divided out, the class members usually get a few cents, or if they are really lucky, a few dollars. Most of which never gets claimed. But the lawyers make their percentage, which is often millions.

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Happy

At last, justice prevails

After all the trials and tribulations of the first trial, at least a semblance of justice is entering into these proceedings.

The trial made a mockery of American 'justice' notwithstanding how warped it is.

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and the winner is. . . .

The lawyers!

With the costs for the legal teams now likely to be stretching into the millions of dollars range the legal teams on both sides must be having wet dreams about the upcoming appeals, counter-appeals and maybe even a chance of standing up and arguing in front of the SCOTUS.

I am so glad that we are able to pay for the their childrens higher educations and tonsecure their homes by paying off their mortgages... They must be as happy as the police in the miners strike of '84

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FAIL

Jobs' legacy ?

What a wonderful legacy Steve Jobs left, having made clear his desire to destroy Android. His strategy (for it is his) may end up destroying Apple rather than Android.

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Happy

Re: Jobs' legacy ?

Got some but lost more, can't say I feel sorry for Apple.

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Bronze badge

So that $2billion

Was that what Apple wanted as damages, or was it their lawyers bill?

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HA

HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

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FAIL

Doesn't Samsung supply Apple with A6 processors?

Wasn't it reported that Samsung raised the price of those very same processors to a figure that would cover the cost of a potential $1bn lawsuit?

If that's so then Apple is a net loser in this.

Ooops!

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Re: Doesn't Samsung supply Apple with A6 processors?

They also supply Apple with screen and memory (albeit indirectly).

Apple approached almost every Far Eastern component manufacturer and broker to try to source their parts elsewhere. LG, Sony, Fujitsu and all the rest told Apple they'd be happy to supply all the parts they wanted - at massive mark-ups because ALL of them buy their parts from Samsung....

Most of the component brokers I work with refuse to deal with Apple - they have a dreadful reputation for getting brokers to source parts (using their time and efforts) then pulling out of the deals at the last minute.

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Meh

swings and roundabout

Ah well, still leaves enough to pay off the patent Infringement reaffirmed earlier this week. After lawyers fees they might just break even.

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Pint

Cheers!

Treble Bugattis all round! (for the lawyers)

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Paris Hilton

Title Hyperbole Alert

Koh said that that there would be a new trial for the $450B damages, not that they would completely disappear. The amount will go down, but it's not clear by how much. This decision merely means that Koh has job security from this case until she is ready for her pension.

Paris, because she rarely reads beyond the title.

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Re: Title Hyperbole Alert

Oops. You wrote $450B, only out by 3 orders of magnitude. About the same as the confidence levels of Apple that they would crush Samsung.

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Nice

Looks like Apple didn't really slow down their rival (Samsung) with this lawsuit. The damages have been cut by half and will likely go down even further. Meanwhile, Samsung is set to release the GS4, which will be far less "Apple like" than previous products and what will Apple's product response be? This is going to be an interesting year for Apple, Samsung, and whoever manages to garner 3rd place.

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Facepalm

How long will it take...

...before the courts label Apple a "vexacious litigant" and tell the company to go compete in the markets, instead of hiding behind lawyers' skirts?

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Childcatcher

Re: How long will it take...

Probably on the same year all the supreme court judges go into retirement at the same time.

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Anonymous Coward

Obligatory

Judge slashes Apple's pile o' cash Samsung judgment judgement

FTFY

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Silver badge

Re: Obligatory

Nope - at least in British English the correct spelling is "judgment" in this context - i.e. a decision handed own by a judge. El Reg is a British site, so the spelling is absolutely correct.

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Bronze badge

Re: Obligatory

"In British English the normal spelling in general contexts is judgement. However, the spelling judgment is conventional in legal contexts, and in North American English."

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/judgement?q=judgment

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Anonymous Coward

The only way for Apple to get a favourable ruling is...

...to announce a massive investment in US manufacturing. They have been quite adamant on not starting manufacturing in US. No wonder they are losing. They should have learnt from Intel and Samsung. In case of Intel when the FTC was about to complete its investigation on anti-competitive practices, Intel announced a manufacturing plant in US and they were let go with a negligible fine. And in case of Samsung, after the ruling against it Samsung announced a manufacturing base in US. See now what is happening?

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Bronze badge

Re: The only way for Apple to get a favourable ruling is...

Seems like a reasonable solution to me. Of course the difference here is that both of the items you brought up were fines from the government, who is much more interested in job creation than anything else. The court system on the other hand has a completely different set of goals as none of this money goes to the government.

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IT Angle

And the winners are...?

The lawyers, of course. Neither Apple nor Samsung will come out of this unscathed, however the legal industry is creaming it in.

This of course will be the same industry that will fight tooth and nail to ensure the US Patent system stays just as exploitable as it is now, to do otherwise, whilst fair and reasonable, would only deflate an extremely lucrative cash flow.

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