With Apple and Google recently dropping all of their patent infringement lawsuits against each other and promising to work together on patent reform, there was some hope that this cooperation would spread to other mobile industry court cases. But over the weekend, Apple instead escalated its legal battle with Samsung rather than try to seek any form of agreement.
Apple has filed for a retrial in its long-running case with Samsung. And it is asking for more damages and wants to see Samsung's infringing products banned from sale in the United States.
Given previous decisions from Judge Lucy Kohl, Apple's requests are legal long shots at best. But the real news here, perhaps, isn't so much in the details. It's that, despite soundly defeating Samsung in court for a second straight time, Apple isn't done fighting the South Korean consumer electronics giant.
Of course, Apple V. Samsung round two didn't exactly end as well as Apple had hoped. After three days of deliberation in early May, a federal jury did find Samsung guilty of fully infringing on two of the five mobile industry patents involved in the case, and partially infringing on a third. But it awarded Apple only $119.6 million in damages, far below the $2.2 billion it had been seeking and the roughly $1 billion it was awarded in an earlier, related but separate, trial.
Apple wanted to send a message to the many companies that it feels are copycats, creating me-too smart phones and tablets that ape the design of its popular iPhone and iPad products. But with such an unsatisfactory outcome in this most recent trial, it has asked Judge Kohl for a higher damages award or, if not, a retrial. And the firm would like to see Samsung's infringing products banned from sale in the United States.
Most aggressively, Apple would also like the judge to apply this verdict outside of the case and prevent Samsung from using the infringing technology in any of its products, a move that would surely impact current Samsung smart phones and tablets. (The two trials have involved previous generation Samsung devices only.) This request would give Samsung a month-long "sunset period" during which it could "swap-in the non-infringing alternatives that it claims are already available and easy to implement."
Samsung is predictably outraged at these requests, at least publicly.
"After the jury rejected Apple's grossly exaggerated damages claim, Apple is once again leaning on the court to push other smartphones out of the market," a Samsung statement notes. "If granted, this would stifle fair competition and limit choice for American consumers."