updated 04:31 am EST, Tue November 26, 2013
Infringing competitior questioned validity of key patent-in-suit
A last-minute move during the damages retrial by Samsung has failed to stop Judge Lucy Koh from moving forward with the trial's results, where once again the Korean company was found guilty of infringing on several Apple patents, but ordered to pay $112 million dollars less to Apple in damages than the first jury's just over $1 billion dollar initial judgement. Samsung had attempted to stop the proceedings on the grounds that a key patent-in-suit during the retrial might be found invalid.
At issue is the "pinch-to-zoom" multitouch gesture, which the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has tentatively invalidated. However, Samsung misled the judge when it claimed that Apple has only one appeal left before the patent is genuinely invalidated, and thus asked that the case be suspended until then.
Apple in fact has several more appeals beyond the USPTO, and the office has shown a tendency to reverse itself in later proceedings, meaning there is still a good chance that the patent will in fact be re-validated. Barring that happening, true and final invalidation of the Apple patent is, at a minimum, years off.
Judge Koh herself noted in her dismissal of the motion that Apple can still file a second response to the so-called (but inaccurate) "Final Office Action." Koh's ruling on Samsung's motion went against the company on three grounds: whether granting a stay would prejudice Apple by further delaying Samsung's payment of the damages Apple has been awarded (just under $900 million in total); whether a stay would simply the status of the case, and whether discovery on the question was complete.
She ruled that "the most efficient way forward" was to finalize the jury's findings and let Samsung appeal it to the Federal Circuit, which it will almost certainly do -- despite two successive losses on these patents, and a second upcoming trial on a different set of patents it is accused of copying from Apple. Apple has not yet seen any money from the award due to the retrial.