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Judge Koh Could Trim Damages from Apple v Samsung Trial

December 7, 2012 - Written By Tom Dawson

Once again Apple and Samsung are back in court, this time around for the hearing that was scheduled between the two, that begin yesterday. Judge Koh is more than keen to resolve the differences between the two electronics giants. In fact, she’s been quoted as saying “I think it’s time for global peace,” and while that might be a long way off – even between Samsung and Apple – it’s clear that she’s keen to call curtains on this dispute once and for all.

Unsurprisingly, at these hearings, Samsung is looking for damages to be trimmed and for a new trial but Apple, on the other hand, are more than happy to see the original Jury Verdict upheld at the hearing. Of particular tension between the two parties is the ongoing argument over Velvin Hogan’s integrity and whether or not he was fit to lead a Jury in the manner he did. Samsung learned that Hogan had previously been involved in litigation with Seagate – the Hard Drive supplier and manufacturer – and that he had failed to disclose this to the court prior to his selection for the Jury. Samsung are arguing that this causes the Jury Verdict to become invalid, along with the fact that Hogan had told the Press, not long after the original case had ended, that some of the Jurors were unclear on patents and that he had helped them understand more clearly – which was not the job of the Jury at all.

Judge Koh is willing to address a lot of the outstanding issues between the two parties and seems willing to bend more than she had done in the past however, she was not entirely happy to speak about Hogan’s conduct, simply saying “I think that topic has been fully briefed.” It’s unsurprising that Koh is unhappy to talk about the matter, especially when Samsung is labelling Hogan as having been “deliberately dishonest” during the trial. Samsung have gone so far as to demand that Hogan and the rest of the Jury be called before the hearing to correct the ‘errors’ Samsung saw in Hogan’s leadership of the Jurors.

When it comes to damages, Apple were awarded $1 Billion across a number of different devices from Samsung – all phones, no tablets. Samsung broke these damages up in the hearing and spent a long time questioning the $58 Million the jury had awarded for the Galaxy Prevail –  a low end phone that garnered just 2 Million units sold – and that the Jury awarded compensation for utility patents. Something that should be reserved only for design patents – in Samsung’s eyes. It does seem a little strange that such a high amount of damages could be awarded for a device that sold very little and was certainly not a device at the forefront of Samsung’s line-up.

Samsung had accused Apple of “competing through the courthouse instead of the marketplace” instead of through innovation and genuine competiton. I’m inclined to agree, after all, the “new” iPhone 5 is a spitting image of the iPhone 4 – but stretched and packing a whole row of extra icons.

Whether Judge Koh will be reducing the damages awarded to Apple or not isn’t obvious and while it might look like it’s possible, Judge Koh is hardly a predictable Judge and some would say unbending at times. I think that $1 Billion is far too high an amount of damages – what do you think?

[Sources: The AP, The Verge]