Apple's Post-Trial Motions Against Samsung Rejected for Most Part, Appeal Upcoming

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By Tony Dutra

Apple Inc.'s post-trial motions to increase the jury's award of $120 million in damages due to Samsung's smartphone and tablet patent infringement were largely denied by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Sept. 8.

Judge Lucy H. Koh agreed to give Apple prejudgment interest as well as supplemental damages based on Samsung's continuing infringement after the jury verdict.

However, she upheld the jurors' decisions on noninfringement of certain patents by particular phones, and she rejected arguments about Samsung's willful infringement that would have allowed her to award treble damages.

Mixed Infringement Findings, Modest Jury Award

The jury considered whether Samsung phones—Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S III and Stratosphere—and the Galaxy Note and Note II tablets infringed one or more of five asserted Apple patents. It found:

• infringement by eight devices of the “quick links” patent (U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647), which describes detecting and performing actions—such as linking to a web page—on such information as phone numbers, post-office addresses and dates;

• noninfringement of a patent (6,847,959) covering Apple's “universal search” feature;

• noninfringement of the “background sync” patent (7,761,414);

• infringement by the Admire, Nexus and Stratosphere phones—but not by Galaxy S II phones—of the patent (8,046,721) describing a “slide to unlock” feature; and

• infringement of a “word recommendations” feature covered by the “auto correct” patent (8,074,172).

 

The jury awarded Apple $119,625,000.

That was reduced by a very small amount, $158,400, for Apple's infringement—with its iPhone and iPad devices—of Samsung's patent (5,579,239) on a remote video transmission system.

Not Much Changes With Apple Post-Trial Motions

Apple sought judgment as a matter of law that would turn around some of the noninfringement decisions by the jury. Koh rejected those arguments with fact-specific evidence.

For example, as to the ”slide to unlock” patent, the jury apparently differentiated the Galaxy S II's “slide to answer” feature from “slide to unlock,” and Koh devoted four pages—including graphics—on why it was reasonable for the jury to reach that decision.

In a bit of good news for Google Inc., the court looked specifically at certain features of the Android operating system—used by many more phones besides Samsung's—and supported the noninfringement judgments related to the “Quick Search Box” feature of the Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean versions of Android.

The court rejected Apple's complaints of Samsung's copying iPhone features, in support of its argument for a finding of willfulness as to the ”quick links” patent. Samsung had already implemented an older Android version, Cupcake, with the allegedly infringing feature before Apple notified Samsung of its allegations, the court noted.

Samsung's only real loss was in its argument that the jury had awarded a lump-sum figure for all past and future infringement, which would have foreclosed post-verdict supplemental damages. The court said, “when a record is unclear as to what the jury actually did, it is appropriate to reject a defendant's argument that the jury's award necessarily compensated the patentee for future infringement,” citing Telcordia Techs., Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Inc., 612 F.3d 1365, 2010 BL 152487, 95 U.S.P.Q.2d 1673 (Fed. Cir. 2010).

Apple's motions for JMOL of noninfringement of Samsung's video transmission patent went for nought.

Apple's motion for a new trial was largely dependent on its argument that Samsung inappropriately told the jury that Apple does not practice its own patent claims.

But the court, recalling a convoluted set of options made available to Apple during the trial on this topic, chastised the firm for making strategic decisions that left the door open for Samsung's claims.

Another argument for a new trial based on Samsung's reference at trial that Apple was seeking a permanent injunction to bar Samsung phones in the United States was also unavailing. There is no rule that “references to the possibility of a permanent injunction must be excluded in patent trials,” the court said.

What's Next?

This result follows the court's decision 12 days earlier denying Apple's request for an injunction (Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., No. 5:12-cv-00630-LHK, 2014 BL 238270 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2014).

Both parties have notified the court that they intend to appeal various judgments by the district court.

Morrison & Foerster LLP and Wilmer Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP represented Apple.

Samsung was represented by a team from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Dutra in Washington at adutra@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom P. Taylor at ttaylor@bna.com

Full text at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/Apple_Inc_v_Samsung_Electronics_Co_Ltd_et_al_Docket_No_512cv00630/6.