Samsung appeals $539M verdict in Apple case, because of course

The company thinks the verdict is wrong and wants a refund of some damages already paid.

Vicki Behringer

The jury may have made a decision, but the fight isn't over.

Samsung asked a court last Thursday to either dismiss the judgment in its phone patent fight with Apple or retry the case in which the damages were decided. In a 34-page post-trial motion filed with the US District Court in San Jose, California, Samsung says the jury's $539 million verdict is "excessive" and not supported by the evidence.

It's an unsurprising follow-up to the latest trial in the ongoing Apple v. Samsung patent-infringement duel. Last month, a jury decided Samsung must pay Apple $539 million for infringing on five patents with Android phones it sold in 2010 and 2011. The unanimous decision is about halfway between what the world's two largest mobile phone makers had sought in the high-profile case that reaches back to 2011.

"[The] decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages," Samsung said in response to the verdict last month. "We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers."

Earlier trials determined that Samsung infringed on three Apple design patents, which describe how elements look, and two Apple utility patents, which describe how they work. The jury trial, held in May, determined damages for those violations. The vast majority -- $533 million -- was for the design patent infringements.

The overall verdict was $140 million steeper than the amount earlier trials had determined it owed, so it was a big step backward for the company.

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung owes Apple $539 million

At issue in the trial is the "article of manufacture" to which a design patent applies. A company found to infringe a design patent must pay profits based on sales of that product. Apple argued the article encompassed the entire smartphone. Samsung, bolstered by a 2016 Supreme Court ruling after its earlier appeal, argued the article of manufacture is only a set of phone components, a view that dramatically reduces the damages it owed.

Jurors interviewed after the May trial said they found Apple's argument persuasive for one design patent, a patent covering the grid of colorful icons that appears on the smartphone screen. However, for a second design patent for a black, rectangular, round-cornered front face for an electronic device, the jury found Samsung more persuasive.

In a separate motion, Samsung also said it wants to be reimbursed for the $146 million, plus interest, that it already paid over an invalidated touchscreen patent.

Neither Apple nor Samsung immediately responded to requests for comment.

First published June 11 at 9:11 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:30 a.m. PT:
Adds more background on Apple v. Samsung. Update, 11:38 a.m.: Adds more background on the trial and embeds Samsung's second motion.