Landmark Apple vs Samsung retrial begins today, hundreds of millions at stake

November 12, 2013
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Last year in August, a jury in San Jose, California decided that Samsung must pay Apple over one billion dollars in damages in one of the largest patent infringement lawsuits ever. However, the judge presiding over the trial, Lucy Koh, found that the jury did not clearly explain why it awarded $450 million out of the total damages, and decided that the patents in question should make the object of a retrial.

Today, the retrial is set to begin; in the words of an Apple lawyer, it’s “Groundhog Day”. Its purpose is to determine whether Samsung should pay more or less than the $450 million the original jury awarded Apple. The other $600 million of the $1.05 billion total are not part of the retrial, but Samsung can still challenge that award in an appeal court.

The retrial beginning today covers five Apple patents, including one that refers to the design of the iPhone. The Cupertino-based company claims that thirteen Samsung devices infringe these patents, though most are no longer on sale. These include the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Samsung Captivate.

In the grand scheme of things, even a billion is a relatively minor loss for Samsung and Apple, but this retrial, as well as the future appeal to the original verdict, is important for upcoming confrontations between the two giants that concern more recent devices. In a separate trial that will begin in March 2014, Apple will try to prove that newer Samsung devices, including the popular Galaxy S3, are infringing on its patents.

The 2012 trial unfolded over a month, but the retrial is expected to conclude faster. Apple and Samsung executives will testify, and, if last year’s spat was any indication, some very interesting information may become public. Stay tuned.

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