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Apple and Samsung Prepare for the Dec. 6th Showdown

November 20, 2012 - Written By Michael Roberts

Apple and Samsung are gearing up for round 2 of their major courtroom showdown. The last time these two duked it out in this case, Samsung limped away with a billion-dollar fee and potential injunctions against some of its premier products.

This time around, Samsung is certainly ready to throw everything in the ring to get the judge to overturn the jury’s decision.

The court papers are in, and both sides are thoroughly prepared.

In particular, Samsung is working hard to get the judgment from the England and Wales Court of Appeals included in the American courts, but Apple is obviously opposed to such damaging information. Apple argues that the foreign court’s ruling came too late to matter for the verdict that was decided this summer. Samsung is also ready to show designs of the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, but once again Apple argues that it is too late.

Here is an excerpt of Apple’s argument.

Exhibit 12 is a judgment issued by the England and Wales Court of Appeal in a lawsuit that Samsung filed against Apple. (Dkt. 2126-12.) … This evidence is not relevant to Samsung’s JMOL Reply. Indeed, this evidence could not possibly be relevant to Samsung’s motion for JMOL, New Trial, and/or Remittitur because it was not admitted at trial, and Rule 50 and Rule 59 motions must generally be limited to the evidence in the trial record. Torres v. City of Los Angeles, 548 F.3d 1197, 1205 (9th Cir. 2008) (“Judgment as a matter of law is appropriate when the evidence presented at trial permits only one reasonable conclusion.”); Molski v. M.J. Cable, Inc., 481 F.3d 724, 729 (9th Cir. 2007) (upon the Rule 59 motion of a party, the district court must “weigh the evidence as [the court] saw it”). Evidence outside of the trial record might, in some cases, be relevant to jury misconduct, but Samsung’s new evidence is not relevant to that issue, as shown by Samsung’s failure to cite that evidence in the jury misconduct section of its JMOL Reply. (Dkt. 2131 at 1-5.)

The Court Has Authority to Correct Jury Errors

In the midst of all of this, Samsung is strongly pointing to a ruling that held “working the math backwards strongly suggests that the jury must have used some [improper] calculation.” In short, Samsung, and several others for that matter, are having trouble justifying the billion-dollar price tag levied by the court.

Here’s more from Samsung:

A. The Court Can And Should Interpret The Damages Verdicts And Correct Errors

Apple does not dispute the validity of Samsung’s explanation of how the jury reached its damages awards—an explanation that plainly reveals the need for corrective action by the Court. … Instead, Apple insists that “[p]recedent forbids” any consideration of how a jury reached its awards. Opp. 17. In fact, precedent dictates that an identifiable error should be corrected where “a candid assessment of the jury’s calculations justifies it” and “there is no other plausible explanation for the amount calculated by the jury.” … It is proper to examine the bases of a jury’s damages awards, particularly where Apple resisted including any detail in the verdicts … See Lighting Ballast Control, LLC v. Philips Elecs. N. Am. Corp., 814 F. Supp. 2d 665, 692-93 (N.D. Tex. 2011) (construing verdict’s ambiguity against plaintiff after it defeated defendant’s request for “some way to tell us [the] type of award”).

In addition to misstating when a jury’s damages verdicts should be examined, Apple misstates when errors in such verdicts warrant relief. According to Apple, a jury’s damages verdicts are immune from scrutiny so long as they fall “within the range encompassed by the record as a whole,” and the verdicts here fall within that “range” because they are lower than the damages Apple sought. Opp. 17. Yet Apple ignores that courts grant remittitur or new trial not only when a verdict is “intrinsically excessive,” but also when a court can, by examining a verdict, identify particular amounts that are attributable to error. Mot. 24 (citing Cornell Univ. v. Hewlett Packard Co., 609 F. Supp. 2d 279, 292 (N.D.N.Y. 2009) (Rader, J.)).13 The jury’s awards here were infected by identifiable errors; the Court must take action to correct these erroneous awards.14

Summary: Apple insists the verdict is fair while there is precedent to reconsider when such a large amount of money is involved. In fact, the astronomical amount of cash demanded by the court may be the issue that works in Samsung’s favor more than anything else.

Samsung’s lawyers pointed to the court’s responsibility in such matters: “Where the court has identified a specific error . . . the court may set aside the resulting award even if its amount does not shock the conscience.”

Apple / HTC Deal Could Make a Difference

We recently covered the big 10-year deal between Apple and HTC to allow HTC the usage of several of Apple’s patents. How is this relevant here? Well, if Samsung can get access to the details of the deal, it may be able to show that infringements deemed as “irreparable damage” may not, in fact, be so irreparable. After all, if you’re willing to sell the usage of those patents to the highest bidder, then perhaps the point was exaggerated in this summer’s decision.

For much, much more about the case, see Groklaw.