updated 06:30 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2012
No need to rule on defense, as Apple not guilty of patent violation
Federal Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing two Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent suits, has issued her first ruling after the December 6 omnibus post-trial hearing. In her first ruling, the judge has declined to adjudicate Apple's fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) defenses against Samsung's patent claims, citing that because the jury didn't find Apple infringing, there was no need to rule on the asserted standards-essential patents held by the Korean manufacturer.
Apple was attempting to gain a strategic advantage over Samsung, hoping to render the patents unenforceable in the United States. Patent analyst Florian Mueller believes that "the issues aren't moot in a technical sense, but a decision on them wouldn't make a difference for the purposes of the case at hand, which is large and complex enough all by itself." He continues, saying that "should the court overrule the jury to the effect that any infringement of valid Samsung SEPs is identified, Apple's FRAND defenses and non-jury counterclaims would be looked at -- but not under the current circumstances."
Judge Koh's order states that both parties agreed with this ruling in the recently-held hearing. Apple claimed that "the equitable defenses no longer present a live issue between the two parties in this case, and that the only effect of a ruling on Apple's claims would come through collateral estoppel in future cases."