by: Kelly A. Williams, a shareholder at Picadio Sneath Miller & Norton, P.C.
On March 1, 2013, United States District Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California ordered that the jury award of $1,049,343,540.00 entered last August against Samsung and in favor of Apple in their patent suit be reduced by $450,514,650.00. The court determined that the jury had based part of its award on an impermissible legal theory, and she could not reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury. For the Galaxy Prevail, which was found to infringe only utility patents, the jury awarded Samsung’s profits. This was a legally impermissible remedy for a utility patent infringement. For several other devices, the court determined that the jury improperly awarded damages for sales made before Samsung had notice of the Apple patents at issue.
Thus, the court ordered a new trial on damages for the following products: Galaxy Prevail, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Galaxy SII AT&T, Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Tab, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, and Transform. The jury award stood for the remaining 14 products as well as $598,908,892.00 of the original award.
Additionally, the court denied Apple’s attempt to increase the amount of damages. Judge Koh cited the longstanding rule that the Seventh Amendment prohibits a judicial increase in a damages award made by a jury. Apple argued that rule did not apply because there was no dispute about the proper amount of damages, but the court disagreed. However, the court did determine that supplemental damages for infringing sales that were not considered by the jury because the sales occurred after the trial had concluded was appropriate. The court decided to delay the consideration of the amount of these damages, however, until after the completion of appeals in the case.
Interesting Post, Looking back at the only other precedent of this kind, the Exxon Valdez spill. In 1989 The Valdez ran aground spilling 257,000 barrels of oil in Prince William Sound.
A suit was filed on behalf of 38,000 litigants. In 1994, a jury awarded plaintiffs $287 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages. Exxon, Like any multi billion dollar corporation ,has an army of lawyers who appealed the punitive damages keeping it tied up in the courts for 20 years .
In 2008 Exxon got the punitive damages reduced to $507 million dollars. They agreed to pay 75% of that. It took 20 years for Exxon to finally pay the punitive damages, almost 20% of the original plaintiffs had passed away before they saw a dime.