Jury leaves Apple damages unchanged

Last updated 11:20 06/05/2014

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A US jury has left the total damages Samsung must pay Apple unchanged at US$119.6 million (NZ$137.7 million), after additional deliberations in a trial where the South Korean smartphone maker was found to have infringed three Apple patents.

During the month-long trial in a San Jose, California federal court, Apple accused Samsung of violating patents on smartphone features including universal search, while Samsung denied wrongdoing.

On Friday, the jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple US$119.6 million for infringing the iPhone maker's patents. But Apple attorneys argued at the time that the jurors made a technical mistake in awarding Apple damages on a patent covering one of Samsung's phones. The jury was ordered back to court Monday to resolve that issue.

Juror Margarita Palmada, a 69-year-old retired high-school Spanish teacher, said she wished the two sides had been able to work out their issues without resorting to litigation.

"It would have been so much simpler for all involved," she said in an interview after the jury wrapped.

Some of the jurors had initially been in favour of awarding Apple more but eventually arrived at the consensus verdict, she said, but declined to offer more details.

Apple and Samsung have been litigating around the world for three years. Jurors awarded the iPhone maker about US$930 million after a 2012 trial in San Jose, but Apple failed to persuade US District Judge Lucy Koh to issue a permanent injunction against the sale of Samsung phones in the United States.

The current case involves five Apple patents that were not in the 2012 trial and that cover iPhone features such as slide-to-unlock and search technology.

TIT FOR TAT

Apple is seeking to ban sales of several Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S III, as well as monetary damages. It will now be up to Judge Koh to decide whether a sales injunction is warranted, though legal experts deem that unlikely.

In the San Jose trial, the jury found that Samsung had infringed two patents, and the judge had ruled before trial that Samsung had infringed a third.

The jury also found Apple had infringed on one of the Korean company's own patents. Samsung, which asserted a US$6 million damages claim, was awarded US$158,400.

During the trial, the two tech leaders also sparred over how Google's work on the software used in Samsung phones affects Apple's patent claims. Samsung's phones run on the Android mobile operating system developed by Google.

Google was not a defendant in the case, but during the trial Samsung pointed out that some of the features Apple claims to own were actually invented by Google, and called a handful of executives from the Internet search company to testify on its behalf.

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But on Monday, jury foreman and International Business Machines executive Tom Dunham, 59, said in an interview that Google's role had not factored much in the jurors' deliberations.

- Reuters

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