A US judge has ordered a new trial to determine how much Samsung Electronics Co should pay Apple Inc for copying the look of the iPhone. US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California issued an order late on Sunday, 10 months after the US Supreme Court set aside a $399 million award against Samsung for mimicking the iPhone’s look for its Galaxy and other devices.
The Supreme Court said damages could be based only on parts of a device that may have infringed patents, not necessarily the entire device. Koh said the jury instructions at the Apple-Samsung trial “did not accurately reflect the law” and may have prejudiced Samsung by preventing jurors from considering whether any infringement covered “something other than the entire phone.”
The $399 million is part of a $548 million payment that Samsung made to Apple in December 2015. Apple had argued that no new trial was warranted, and that the $399 million award should be confirmed. The legal dispute concerned whether the “article of manufacture” for which Samsung owed damages included its entire smartphones, or only parts that infringed Apple patents.
Without deciding that question, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the Supreme Court last December 6 that “the term ‘article of manufacture’ is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product. In Sunday’s order, Koh said the jury instructions at the original 2012 trial inaccurately stated the law on that issue.
She said Samsung may have been prejudiced if jurors were prevented from considering whether any infringement covered “something other than the entire phone.” Apple contended that the jury instructions were “not erroneous,” and said it had proved that Samsung applied its patented designs to its “entire phones.” Jurors initially awarded $1.05 billion to Apple, which was later reduced.
Samsung, in a statement, welcomed a new trial, calling it “a historic opportunity to determine how the US Supreme Court’s guidance on design patent damages will be implemented.”