US jury orders Samsung to pay Apple $120m

Updated: 2014-05-03 15:30


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US jury orders Samsung to pay Apple $120m

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab (front) and Apple's iPad are seen in Seoul, in this May 13, 2013 file picture illustration. [Photo/Agencies]

The shortfall in damages for Apple led some experts to again question whether patent litigation amongst the technology industry's largest players, which has been on the rise in past years, was a viable strategy.

Critics have argued that patent litigation can be abused and can hinder innovation. Its advocates say litigating helps innovators protect their intellectual property and benefit from them.

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"What the verdict shows is that Apple's patents did not play a significant role in consumer decisions," Carrier wrote. "One wonders if the endless smartphone patent wars, costing millions and putting the focus on the courtroom rather than the innovation lab, are worth it."

During the trial, Samsung argued that Apple had vastly exaggerated the importance of its patented iPhone features, while Apple said the South Korean company could not have competed in the smartphone market without unfairly copying its flagship product.

In the San Jose trial, the jury found that Samsung had infringed two patents, and the judge had ruled before trial that Samsung had infringed a third. The jury also found Apple had infringed on one of the Korean company's own patents.

Samsung, which asserted a $6 million damages claim, was awarded $158,400.

During the trial, the two tech leaders also sparred over how Google's work on the software used in Samsung phones affects Apple's patent claims. Samsung's phones run on the Android mobile operating system developed by Google Inc.

Google was not a defendant in the case, but during the trial Samsung pointed out that some of the features Apple claims to own were actually invented by Google, and called a handful of executives from the Internet search giant to testify on its behalf.

Apple said Google shouldn't affect how jurors analyzed Samsung's liability, partly because Google had agreed to reimburse some of Samsung's costs.

After the jury delivered its verdict, Apple attorneys argued that the jurors had made a technical mistake in awarding damages to Apple on a patent covering one of Samsung's phones. Koh ordered the jurors to return on Monday to resolve the issue, which could boost Apple's damages award by a few hundred thousand dollars.

The case in US District Court, Northern District of California is Apple Inc vs. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, 12-630.

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