Last year, Samsung Electronics lost an important patent battle with Apple that subjected the company to the possibility of paying millions of dollars to Apple in restitution. Now, the case heads to a jury that will determine how much Samsung has to pay for that loss. Samsung and Apple are the two biggest profit makers in the electronics industry and are currently embattled in multiple patent disputes.
In the original case, Apple accused Samsung of violating several of its patents. The trial lasted about a month. During the trial, Apple’s executives and designers detailed their design processes, comparing Samsung’s products with Apple’s to illustrate how the products were similar.
A California jury rendered a verdict in August of last year that found Samsung had infringed on a series of Apple patents. That jury determined that Samsung should pay more than $1 billion in damages. The judge later revisited the verdict and vacated about $450 million of the original award under the premise that it was unclear how the jury calculated the original figure. However, Samsung was still required to pay Apple $600 million.
Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Federal District Court for Northern California ordered a new trial to determine whether Samsung should pay more or less than the $450 million that was vacated. Some of Apple’s top leaders are expected to testify in the new trial, including Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing. The trial will involve five patents, including one that covers the design of the face of a mobile device, and will cover 13 products, including Samsung’s Captivate smartphone and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablet.
While a single handoff of $1 billion would not greatly affect the companies’ finances, the fight over damages is more about the future than the present. The final amount awarded could exert an influence over another jury to make similar damage calculations in future cases. Samsung and Apple James E. Bessen, a lecturer in law at the Boston University School of Law, said, “This is a judgment based on some of its products, particularly old products. Samsung doesn’t want similar judgments on more recent products as well.”