eDiscovery Daily Blog

Award to Apple in Samsung Case Cut Almost in Half, For Now – eDiscovery Case Law

In Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Case No.: C 11-CV-01846-LHK (N.D. Cal. Mar. 1, 2013), District Judge Lucy Koh reduced the amount of the previous jury award against Samsung in its ongoing intellectual property case from nearly $1.05 billion to over $598 million, due to ordering a new trial on damages for several Samsung products that amounted to over $450 million being stricken from the jury’s award.

In August of last year, a jury of nine found that Samsung infringed all but one of the seven patents at issue and found all seven of Apple’s patents valid – despite Samsung’s attempts to have them thrown out. They also determined that Apple didn’t violate any of the five patents Samsung asserted in the case.  Apple had been requesting $2.5 billion in damages.  Apple later requested additional damages of $707 million to be added to the $1.05 billion jury verdict.  This case was notable from an eDiscovery perspective due to the adverse inference instruction issued by California Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal against Samsung just prior to the start of trial for spoliation of data, though it appears that the adverse inference instruction did not have a significant impact in the verdict.

Notice of the Patents

A significant portion of this ruling was related to notice of the patents.  As Judge Koh noted in her ruling, “Under 35 U.S.C. § 287(a), there can be no damages award where a defendant did not have actual or constructive notice of the patent or registered trade dress at issue. Thus, it is improper to award damages for sales made before the defendant had notice of the patent, and an award that includes damages for sales made before notice of any of the intellectual property (“IP”) infringed is excessive as a matter of law.”  The parties disputed whether Apple had given Samsung notice of each of the patents prior to the filing of the complaint and the amended complaint.

Apple had provided to the Court numbers necessary to calculate Samsung’s profits and reasonable royalty awards based on damages numbers provided by Apple’s damages expert, but with later notice dates, enabling the Court, for some products, to calculate how much of the jury’s award compensated for the sales before Samsung had notice of the relevant IP.  However, as Judge Koh noted, “for other products, the jury awarded an impermissible form of damages for some period of time, because Samsung had notice only of utility patents for some period, but an award of infringer’s profits was made covering the entire period from August 4, 2010 to June 15, 2012. For these products, the Court cannot remedy the problem by simply subtracting the extra sales.” {emphasis added}  The Court had instructed the jury that infringer’s profits are not a legally permissible remedy for utility patent infringement.


Therefore, Judge Koh ordered a new trial on damages for 14 products, totaling $450,514,650 being stricken from the jury’s award.  This left an award of $598,908,892 on the remaining awarded products.

So, what do you think?  What will be the final award and how much will it cost to determine that?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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