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Apple, Samsung back in court in patent retrial

By The Rainbow
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Apple and Samsung were back in a San Jose federal court Wednesay for a new trial to determine just how much damages should be awarded in their epic patent litigation.

Last year, a jury ruled that 13 of Samsung’s mobile devices had violated Apple patents for the iPhone and iPad and that Samsung should pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages.

However, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh later shaved $450 million off that verdict, saying instructions to the jury had been confusing.

Samsung still must pay $600 million as a result of the verdict. The question now in this six-day hearing is: How much more will it have to pay?

In opening statements, an attorney for Apple said Samsung should have to pay $380 million for copying features in the iPhone and iPad. That infringement caused people who would have bought Apple products to buy Samsung instead, he argued.

“In a fair fight, that money should have gone to Apple,” Harold McElhinny said.

Samsung attorney Bill Price, while acknowledging that Samsung had infringed patents, said it was only reasonable to pay Apple $52 million. He said the features in question played little or no role in most consumers’ decision about which phone to buy.

“I feel like we're starting with one foot in the grave,” Price said. “I ask you to keep an open mind. Because Apple is asking for far more money than it deserves.”

Both sides have eight hours to present their case, and then they will be given time for closing statements. Each attorney promised to call marketing and design experts to help make their case for more or less damages.

Either way, the amount at stake won’t make or break either company. But in a battle in which both sides have refused to cede a legal inch, each victory has been considered crucial.

In this hearing, the products in question are several years old, and generally not available. However, both sides are scheduled to begin a second trial in March 2014 in the same courtroom over more recent Samsung products that Apple says violated its patents.

So in addition to money, Apple is looking for precedent to bolster its claims. And while an exasperated Koh has urged both sides to settle, it appears such a move is unlikely to happen any time soon.

In the meantime, Apple has appealed Koh’s denial of its request to issue a permanent ban on the Samsung products that were found to infringe Apple’s patents.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to issue a ruling on Apple’s appeal in the coming weeks.