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Judge orders Apple, Samsung to trim 2014 patent spat

A federal judge tells both companies that they need to narrow down their upcoming 2014 court battle.

A U.S. District judge today told Apple and Samsung that they need to whittle down a case against one another before it heads to trial early next year.

Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the major U.S. trial between the two companies last year, told both sides that they need to trim down the number of accused products and patent claims in the upcoming case.

"You've already been litigating this thing for a year; you must know something about what's your best case," Koh reportedly told lawyers from both sides.

The ruling, which was reported by Bloomberg earlier today, will limit the cases to 25 patent claims and 25 products. It was made during a hearing today about claim constructions, a step on the way to the case going to trial on March 31, 2014 -- that is, unless the companies settle first, or the trial is put on hold.

This upcoming trial deals with a newer set of devices from both companies, as well as different patents, though still pits both tech giants (who are also business partners) against one another yet again. Apple filed the suit against Samsung in February of last year, claiming Samsung's Galaxy Nexus infringed on four of its patents. The case has since grown to include a multitude of products including Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Note 2, along with a counterclaim that targeted Apple's iPhone 5.

Apple won a considerable victory over Samsung in the very same courtroom last August. The iPhone and iPad maker received a $1.05 billion judgment from a jury who said a number of Samsung's devices infringed on Apple's software and design patents.

It's not the first time that Koh has requested that both sides trim things down. During the 2012 trial, Koh repeatedly pleaded with both companies not just to settle with one another, but to at least make "trades" with one another before a jury made its decision. "I see risks here for both sides," Koh said at the time, suggesting that the jury could end up coming down on both companies.

Complete coverage: Apple v. Samsung, a battle over billions