The Apple Samsung Duel Continues For Three More Rounds
SAMSUNG LOSES BID FOR NEW TRIAL BASED ON JUROR MISCONDUCT
Federal Judge Lucy Koh, the U.S. District Court judge presiding over the court case that saw Apple win (at least temporarily) a $1.375 billion verdict over software patents for mobile devices, has denied Samsung’s request for a new trial based on “misconduct” by the jury foreman.
Samsung said that jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, had acted improperly as he did not tell the judge that he had been sued by his previous employer, Seagate Technology. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, however, Samsung is a major investor in Seagate. Samsung felt that Hogan should have told the judge during the jury selection process about this past “experience” with a Samsung partner, and that in result, he had to file for personal bankruptcy back in 1993.
Samsung obviously felt that Hogan’s negative experience with Seagate created the opportunity for Hogan to be unduly biased towards Samsung. The Judge said that Samsung had plenty of opportunity to question Hogan during jury selection and that it was hardly Hogan’s fault that Samsung never asked the right questions. Samsung did not “discover” the bankruptcy filing until they were in “damage control” mode after the trial.
APPLE’S BID TO BAN 26 SAMSUNG PRODUCTS IN THE US DENIED
Barely one week after a hearing on the matter, Federal U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh has denied Apple’s bid for a sales ban on 26 of Samsung’s products. Koh stated that any infringing features were just part of a larger feature set, thus making a sales ban too broad.
According to Koh, “The phones at issue in this case contain a broad range of features, only a small fraction of which are covered by Apple’s patents. Though Apple does have some interest in retaining certain features as exclusive to Apple, it does not follow that entire products must be forever banned from the market because they incorporate, among their myriad features, a few narrow protected functions.”
In spite of some infringements being found, Koh said in her ruling that a large number of the devices targeted within the ban were no longer being sold, and those that were also had other features. Koh stated that “It would not be equitable to deprive consumers of Samsung’s infringing phones, when, as explained above, only limited features of the phones have been found to infringe on any of Apple’s intellectual property.”
Most of the public would rather see the consumer decide who the winners and loser are, rather than constant bans and lawsuits and patent hissy-fits. No one company should be permitted to gain a significant advantage over another, by any means other than what they offer to consumers in the way of selection, quality, price, and customer service.
SAMSUNG WITHDRAWS TO BAN APPLE PRODUCTS IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
In the interest of “protecting consumer choice”, Samsung has withdrawn its requests to ban a number of Apple products in several European countries. The Korean SmartPhone giant will drop its requests in Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Samsung never actually mentions “lawsuit” in the statement, and Samsung has confirmed that it is still pursuing monetary damages — only the “ban” request portion of the litigation is being dropped. This is interesting timing, coming right on the heels of the reverse scenario in the U.S. as Apple’s intended bans were denied. Could this be a sign that Samsung recognized that these attempted bans were exercises in futility?
Samsung felt that Apple had violated the use of its essential wireless technology patents. Apple felt that Samsung failed to license the patents out “fairly”, which the company is supposed to do under the principle of FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, Non-Discriminatory). It is always a slippery slope when both parties want to get to decide what it “fair”. The European Commission was investigating Samsung to determine whether or not they had broken any European Union laws in regards to how to license its essential patents; which are patents that the industry as a whole have agreed are necessary to build even basic products.
Here is what Samsung has to say on the issue:
“Samsung remains committed to licensing our technologies in fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms, and we strongly believe it is better when companies compete fairly in the marketplace, rather than in court. In this spirit, Samsung has decided to withdraw our injunction requests against Apple on the basis of our standard essential patents pending in the European courts, in the interest of protecting consumer choice.”
So it looks like Samsung loses Round 1, winds Round 2, and basically punts on Round 3. The time for an agreement between these two tech giants is long overdue, and one would think that the monies being wasted on patent lawsuits would be better utilized if poured back into the R & D coffers of both companies.