Welcome back! Apple and Samsung return to court in long-running patent battle

When Apple won big at the conclusion of a patent infringement trial with rival firm Samsung back in August 2012, the amount which the California court awarded the iPhone maker – just over a billion dollars – caused the eyes of a fair few industry observers to temporarily bulge in amazement.

The Korean tech company had been accused of “slavishly copying” a number of software and design features relating to Apple’s iDevices, with the jury, having decided 26 Samsung products had infringed a total of six Apple patents, ruling heavily in favor of the Cupertino company.

Since then, however, Samsung has been steadily chipping away at the size of the penalty, with various appeals succeeding in reducing the amount of money it’s been ordered to hand over to Apple.

A big victory for the Korean firm came in March this year when Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the original case in 2012, ruled that the jury had erroneously calculated $400 million of the awarded damages relating to 13 Samsung products. As a result, Koh arranged for a new trial to determine the correct amount. That trial started Wednesday.

Latest trial

While $600 million must still be paid by Samsung, it could drastically reduce its bill if it manages to convince the jury that any infringement was at little cost to sales of Apple products. Apple’s legal team wants Samsung to pay $378 million in damages, while Samsung says the figure should be $52 million.

In opening statements on Wednesday, Apple attorney Harold McIlhenny told the jury, “Apple lost sales because Samsung was selling infringing products.”

Responding, Samsung attorney Bill Price said, “This is a case not where we’re disputing that the 13 phones contain some elements of Apple’s property. That doesn’t mean Apple gets to come in here and ask for a windfall….for more than it is entitled.”

The trial is set to continue until around the middle of next week.

Hates litigation?

Despite Apple boss Tim Cook saying last year that he “hates litigation” and would “highly prefer to settle than to battle,” Apple continues to be engaged in legal battles with Samsung in courts around the world.

In fact, the various disputes have been dragging on for so long that many of the devices at the center of the cases are no longer sold by the companies, with new versions having replaced them.

So it may not surprise you to learn that yet another legal battle between Apple and Samsung, centering on products currently on the market, is set to kick off in California in March next year. With out-of-court settlements apparently unlikely, and endless appeals keeping the legal teams busy, there appears to be no end in sight when it comes to the Apple-Samsung patent war.

[via Washington Post]

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