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Samsung found to infringe Apple patents for over $119 million in damages

Samsung found to infringe Apple patents for over $119 million in damages


Far less than what Cupertino originally wanted

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After three full days of deliberations, a jury in San Jose, California found that Samsung had infringed upon two Apple patents, and that it owed the Cupertino company $119,625,000 in damages. But it also found that Apple had infringed on one of Samsung's two patents, and owed $158,400 as a result.

In a decision, the jury said Samsung primarily infringed on two of Apple's five patents, the '647 and '721 patent covering features that turned addresses and phone numbers into links, and Apple's slide to unlock patent respectively. On the flip side, the jury said three models of the iPhone, and two models of the iPod touch infringed on a Samsung patent covering a photo and video gallery feature.

Both numbers are minuscule

Both numbers are minuscule when compared to the original amounts sought by both companies. Apple originally wanted $2.191 billion in damages, targeting 10 Samsung devices for infringing five patents. And Samsung's counter-suit against Apple targeted nine devices, including iPhones and iPads, asking for a far smaller $6.2 million.

"We are grateful to the jury and the court for their service. Today's ruling reinforces what courts around the world have already found: that Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products," Apple said in a statement. "We are fighting to defend the hard work that goes into beloved products like the iPhone, which our employees devote their lives to designing and delivering for our customers."

Samsung declined to comment, with a spokesperson stating that "It is inappropriate to comment while the jury is still deliberating." Google declined as well; the company was not named in the lawsuit, though it testified for Samsung in connection with the patent covering universal search.

Not a clean sweep for either company

Not all Samsung products infringed all of Apple's patents. While all of the accused Samsung devices were found to infringe the '647 patent, it was a split ruling for the slide to unlock patent. Samsung's Admire, Galaxy Nexus, and Stratosphere were all found to infringe on that patent, but not the Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch, or the Galaxy S2 Skyrocket. And it was no's across the board for Apple's '959 and '414 patents, which cover universal search and background data synchronization respectively.

The most expensive product for Samsung, based on the damages numbers was the Galaxy S3. The jury awarded Apple $52,444,721 for infringing on just one patent — the so-called "quick links" patent. On the other end of the spectrum was the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which was the only Samsung product found not to infringe. One other product, the Galaxy S2 was found to infringe, though the jurors filled in the damages box with a zero, something that will require them to come back and recalculate that total next week.

For Samsung, the jury said that the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touch infringed on its gallery patent, but found that Apple did not infringe of a Samsung patent covering video compression and transmission. The bulk of Samsung's $6.2 million in damages relied on that patent, resulting in the wildly low number.

Additionally, the jury found that Samsung willfully infringed on the slide to unlock patent, something that could increase damages associated with that patent by up to three times if district court Judge Lucy Koh allows it. However both sides would need to write a brief on the matter first, making that a decision that could come in the days or weeks to come. Koh also chose not to grant that in 2012 trial.

Much of the trial between the two companies was spent on Apple's complaint, which was broader than Samsung's, forcing the company to spend much of its time on the defensive. Apple accused Samsung of infringing on five of its patents covering the slide-to-unlock gesture, universal search, data synchronization, keyboard autocorrect, and something called "quick links," which turns phone numbers and addresses into phone actions when you tap them. Samsung's countersuit took aim at Apple for two patents: one covering video compression and transmission, and another for organizing photos and videos.

This may not be the last trial between the two

This is the second major trial between the two companies in the US, and likely not the last. The two sparred in 2012 over Samsung's initial crop of Galaxy smartphones and tablets that Apple said looked similar to the iPhone and iPad. A jury agreed with that assessment and awarded Apple $1.05 billion, a figure that was later trimmed to $939.8 million after the judge pointed out errors in the way the jury did its math. In the backdrop of that was this second lawsuit targeting a newer group of devices.

Apple hinted at future conflict in its opening statements earlier in the month, saying casually it couldn't have gone after Samsung for 50 patents. "Samsung copied many many features, but there are limits in what we can accomplish in a trial," Apple's attorney Harold McElhinny said. Even so, most all of the devices in this trial (as well as the previous one) were long retired by the time the complaint went to trial, making the threat less about removing infringing products from store shelves, and more about Apple threatening competitors.

According to Samsung, threatening competitors has been Apple's plan all along. Throughout the trial, its lawyers have said this was really a fight between Apple and Google, with Apple indirectly going after Android. "This is what this case is really about," Samsung attorney Bill Price said in the company's closing argument.

Jurors needed to answer 245 questions

As part of making its decision, the group of jurors needed to fill in as many as 245 answers on the 12-page verdict form. Some of those were simple yes and no questions, while others required calculating damages figures based on the math each company's damages expert offered. During deliberations, the group requested an easel, scissors, and tape to help with that task, but little else. A separate request by the group earlier in the week asked for more information about when the conflict originally started between the two companies, asking specifically for what was said by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and Samsung's CEO when the claims of copying were first made, but the judge presiding over the case shot that request down.

The jury of eight originally began as 10, with two members bowing out on the very first day, citing physical illness and financial hardship. Three of the eight that remained were born in foreign countries, including Mexico, Spain, and Vietnam. Some of their professions include an accounting assistant, apartment manager, retired teacher, an executive assistant at Seagate, and an employee at the nearby Los Gatos police department. The group's foreman was a former IBM business unit executive.

Even with the verdict in, it's not final. Jurors come back next week to determine damages on the Galaxy S2, something that could change the total amount. And even then, it could change once again. Seven months after the first trial wrapped up, Judge Koh trimmed $450.5 million off the original $1.05 billion judgment, and required a retrial for that amount. After the week-long retrial that followed, the final figure was changed to $939.8 million.

Matt Macari contributed to this report.