updated 08:30 pm EDT, Wed April 4, 2012
Apple gets to set patent terms in suit vs Samsung
Apple scored an important win in its original US lawsuit versus Samsung on Wednesday after Judge Lucy Koh mostly sided with Apple's claim construction surrounding patents. Out of eight terms across seven patents, she sided with Apple on five definitions and Samsung for two, using a hybrid opinion to define the term "applet." The terms would be needed for the formal trial start in July.
Claim construction is often vital to a patent lawsuit, as it both frames the argument for either side's attorneys along with setting the terms by which a judge can rule on whether or not a technology is violating a patent. Apple getting to define most of the construction gives it a better chance of finding Samsung infringing on patents, although it's not a guarantee that the court will side with Apple.
Judge Koh has been relatively neutral in pre-trial hearings. She denied a preliminary ban on Samsung devices, a decision that Apple will be appealing on April 6. In the same space, however, she also hinted that she thought Samsung was copying Apple and that the ban was denied more out of a lack of urgency than innocence.
Apple from the outset has argued that Samsung was trying to shadow its hardware design and software look. Samsung has vehemently denied accusations, although it has had trouble given some of its conspicuous behavior. While phones like the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note have a large, iPhone-like home button internationally, they all change to an industry-standard layout in the US, showing an inherent awareness that Apple would feel the design too similar.