Thursday, November 21, 2013

Retrial jury awards Apple $290 million, total damages in case against Samsung: $929 million

A federal jury in the Northern District of California has just awarded Apple $290,456,793 ($290 million) in damages with respect to 13 patent-infringing Samsung products, replacing a $410 million portion of last year's $1.049 billion award and resulting in a total damages award of $929 million ($639 million + $290 million). The $290 million replacement amount is 76% of Apple's damages claim in the retrial ($380 million) and 71% of the corresponding portion of last year's award. the new total damages figure of $929 million, which could still (but is unlikely to) be adjusted by Judge Lucy Koh before rendering a final and appealable judgment, is almost 90% of last year's amount.

Samsung had challenged last year's jury award but obviously intended to get more out of a retrial than a 10% discount. From Samsung's perspective, the amount has gone from slightly more than a billion dollars to not much less than a billion dollars -- almost a rounding error for companies of Apple and Samsung's size and certainly not the "slashing" that various media reports suggested when Judge Koh merely vacated a part of the original award. In an important respect, Samsung is actually in worse shape now than before. The appeals court will see that two different juries, independently of each other, agreed with Apple that Samsung's infringement caused substantial damages. It's much harder to argue to an appeals court that two juries in a row were unreasonable than to say the same about a single jury.

From a strategic point of view, Apple actually scored an even more important victory over Samsung on Monday with an appeals court ruling that the district court had erred in denying Apple a permanent injunction against infringing Samsung products, giving Apple a new opportunity to obtain an injunction on remand to the district court.

Here's the verdict form (this post continues below the document):

13-11-21 Apple v. Samsung Limited Damages Retrial Jury Verdict by Florian Mueller

Here's a comparison of this year's and last year's per-product awards for the 13 products at issue in the retrial:

ProductOriginal awardRetrial awardChange
Droid Charge$50,672,869$60,706,020+20%
Epic 4G$130,180,894$37,928,694-71%
Exhibit 4G$1,081,820$2,044,683+89%
Galaxy Prevail$57,867,383$22,143,335-62%
Galaxy Tab$1,966,691$9,544,026+385%
Infuse 4G$44,792,974$99,943,987+123%
Nexus S 4G$1,828,297$10,559,907+478%

As the above table shows, the damages award increased for seven -- and decreased for six -- of the 13 retrial products.

For further detail on the limited damages retrial I'd like to refer you to my detailed Q&A.

Apple has issued the following statement on the verdict:

"For Apple, this case has always been about more than patents and money. It has been about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love. While it's impossible to put a price tag on those values, we are grateful to the jury for showing Samsung that copying has a cost."

Samsung provided the following statement to the media:

"We are disappointed by today's decision, which is based in large part on a patent that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recently deemed invalid. While we move forward with our post-trial motions and appeals, we will continue to innovate with groundbreaking technologies and great products that are loved by our many customers all around the world."

The first sentence of Samsung's statement is a bit misleading, but since even its filings with the court distort the state of the procededings in the same context, it's no surprise that it misrepresents the facts to the media as well. It's misleading to say that the USPTO "has [...] deemed [the '915 pinch-to-zoom API patent] invalid" because the USPTO proceedings are still ongoing and could still be ongoing for a couple of years. Even the first stage of reexamination isn't over: a final decision by the Central Reexamination Division (which Apple can then appeal within the USPTO to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and subsequently to the Federal Circuit) won't come down for another month or so. The patent is undoubtedly under pressure in reexamination, but "has recently deemed invalid" sounds far more final than the USPTO's preliminary communications are.

Also, Samsung's claim that the award "is based in large part" on the '915 patent disregards that the verdict form states damages only on a per-product (and not a per-patent) basis. Maybe Samsung will again be able to reverse-engineer a jury verdict.

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