Jury Delivers $1.05B Verdict for Apple in Patent Case
By Jeffery Habenicht – Edited by Jennifer Wong
Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., LTD., 11-CV-1846-LHK (N.D.Cal Aug. 24, 2012)
Jury Verdict Form hosted by SB Nation
After two-and-a-half days of deliberation, a nine-person jury returned a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung for infringing six of seven Apple patents. The jury found that, in 24 of its phones and tablets, Samsung had infringed on all three utility patents and three of four design patents that Apple had asserted. The jury rejected Samsung’s defense that the patents were invalid. Furthermore, the jury found that five of the patents had been infringed willfully by Samsung. Finally, the jury denied all of Samsung’s infringement counterclaims. United States District Judge Lucy Koh presided over the trial and has scheduled a hearing for post-trial motions on September 20.
Bloomberg describes the case and explores the broader market context of the dispute. Ars Technica analyzes the jury verdict. Wired discusses what the effect the verdict will have on consumers. Patently-O addresses the likely next steps for the case. Groklaw takes the position that the jury verdict will likely be overturned, at least in part.
After an unexpectedly short deliberation period, the jury returned a completed 20-page verdict form. The vast majority of the jury’s findings favored Apple, and the jury awarded Apple the largest patent infringement verdict to date.
The verdict form first asked the jury to identify which, if any, Samsung product infringed on Apple’s patents. Jurors were also asked to identify which Samsung entity—Samsung Electronics Co., LTD. (SEC), Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (SEA), or Samsung Telecommunications America, LTD.(STA)—infringed the patent. The jury found all seven patents to be valid and six of them infringed by one or more Samsung products. The jury also found that SEC had actively induced SEA and STA to infringe. All together, the jury tabulated damages to total $1,049,343,54.00. Finally, the jury found that Samsung had willfully infringed all three utility patents and two of the four design patents, opening up the possibility for Judge Koh to triple damages.
Next, the jury was asked whether Samsung’s products had diluted Apple’s trade dress. In addition to Apple’s registered iPhone trade dress, Apple also claimed Samsung had diluted its unregistered iPhone 3G, Combination iPhone, and iPad/iPad2 trade dresses. The jury found that Apple’s registered iPhone and unregistered iPhone 3G trade dresses had been diluted by some Samsung product. However, the jury found that the other two trade dresses were not protectable and thus, had not been diluted.
In regard to Samsung’s infringement claims against Apple, the jury found that the patents were valid but had not been infringed by any Apple product.
Finally, the jury rejected Apple’s contract and antitrust claims against Samsung.
In calculating the damages, the jury initially awarded Apple money for products that they had originally found as not infringing any patents. These discrepancies were fixed in an amended verdict form, but the implied confusion may provide support for a JNOV.
This case represents the next big occurrence in the patent fight Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, referred to as “thermonuclear war” in his biography. The victory for Apple—particularly the affirmation of the validity of Apple’s patents—may encourage Apple to file additional suits against other manufacturers. However, given the complexity of the case and the impact it will have on the market place, it is almost certainly going to be appealed.