A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California [official website] on Friday reduced the amount of damages [order, PDF] that Samsung Electronics must pay Apple [corporate websites] for infringing on Apple patents. In August a jury awarded Apple a $1.05 billion judgment [JURIST report] against Samsung. Judge Lucy Koh ruled that the court must reduce the damages award by $450 million because she found that the jury calculated damages for 14 certain infringing Samsung products based on improper legal grounds. Koh also determined that it would be impossible to properly calculate the correct amount of damages under the jury's findings, and that a new trial would be necessary to formulate those damages:
Because the Court has identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award, and cannot reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury, the Court hereby orders a new trial on damages ... This amounts to $450,514,650 being stricken from the jury's award.However, in her order Koh also encouraged Apple and Samsung to seek appellate review from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] before holding a new trial.
The reduction in damages is the most recent event in a protracted patent litigation battle [JURIST op-ed] with Samsung that spans over four continents. In December Judge Koh requested a temporary "ceasefire" [JURIST report] in litigation while she determined whether or not to reduce the damages that Samsung owed to Apple. In October a judge for the US International Trade Commission [official website] issued a preliminary ruling [JURIST report] that Samsung infringed four of Apple's patents relating to smartphone design and touchscreen technology. Also in October the Dutch Rechtbank's-Gravenhage [official website, in Dutch] court ruled that Samsung did not infringe [JURIST report] on an Apple software patent. In the same month a UK court also ruled that Samsung did not infringe [JURIST report] on an Apple design patent. Also in October, Apple defeated [JURIST report] patent infringement claims made by Samsung in Japan, overcoming Samsung's attempt to enjoin iPhone sales in the country.