Judge to Apple, Samsung: Give peace one more chance

Judge Lucy Koh asks the two electronics giants to hold talks -- as high as the CEO level -- before their next trial is scheduled to start in March.

Outside U.S District Court in San Jose, Calif., the scene of the Apple v. Samsung trial. Josh Lowensohn/CNET
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A federal district court judge on Tuesday asked Apple and Samsung to hold talks one more time before a new patent infringement trial is scheduled to kick off in March.

Judge Lucy Koh, speaking before jury selection in a retrial of a separate suit Apple filed against Samsung, told attorneys for the companies that she would like them to try to reach a settlement and that she would prefer the companies' CEOs participate in the talks.

"I ask that before March, there be one last, or additional, attempt to see if you can resolve these cases," she said.

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She prefaced the request by saying to the attorneys for Apple and Samsung that "you don't have to laugh at me, but even my chambers laughs at me when I mention settlement."

The parties agreed they will have a proposal for talks by January 8. Koh noted she was disappointed it will take that long but agreed to the date. Cross-summary motions for the March trial still will take place December 12, she said. In that case, Apple claims Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and other devices infringe on four of its patents.

"If you will resolve it, we would like it to be sooner rather than later," Koh said.

Koh made the comments at a retrial related to damaged owed to Apple by Samsung. The trial kicked off Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose. It's slated to last about six days before the case is turned over to the jury for deliberation.

Jury selection lasted the entire session Tuesday and kept everyone in the court an hour later than scheduled. Ultimately, eight people -- two men and six women -- were selected.

Opening statements will take place Wednesday.

Apple originally filed suit against Samsung in April of 2011, accusing the Korean company of copying the look and feel of its products. Samsung countersued two months later over patent infringement and said it was at work on touch-screen phones with giant rectangular screens and rounded corners well before Apple showed up The initial trial, which stretched more than three weeks in August of 2012, wrapped both of those cases in one, somehow squeezing together the patent infringement issues, alongside antitrust claims, and even trade dress issues.

In August of last year, a nine-person jury sided with Apple on a majority of its patent infringement claims against Samsung. At that time, the jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, much less than the $2.75 billion sought by the Cupertino, Calif., electronics giant. Samsung, which asked for $421 million in its countersuit, didn't get anything.

However, Judge Lucy Koh in March ordered a new trial to recalculate some of the damages in the case, striking $450.5 million off the original judgment against Samsung. What that means is Samsung is still on the hook for about $600 million in damages, but a new jury has to decide how much else it owes.

The products in question include the 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 Prevail in particular racked up $57.9 million of the damages tally, which Koh said was a failure on the jury's part, since the device was found to infringe only on utility patents, and not on design patents.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. PT with information about jury selection.
 

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