Apple, Samsung face off in court again

SAN JOSE Fri Dec 7, 2012 5:24am IST

The Macbook Pro in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The Macbook Pro in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam

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SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) squared off again in court on Thursday, as the iPhone maker prepares to convince a U.S. district judge to ban sales of a number of the Korean company's devices and defend a $1.05 billion jury award.

Apple scored a sweeping legal victory in August at the conclusion of its landmark case against its arch-foe, when a U.S. jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad and awarded it $1.05 billion in damages.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh is expected to address a range of issues at the hearing, which began Thursday afternoon. They include setting aside any of the jury's findings on liability, juror misconduct, and the requested injunction.

Twenty four of Samsung's smartphones were found to have infringed on Apple's patents, while two of Samsung's tablets were cleared of similar allegations.

Koh began by questioning the basis for some of the damages awarded by the jury, putting Apple's lawyers on the defensive.

"I don't see how you can evaluate the aggregate verdict without looking at the pieces," Koh said.

Samsung's lawyers argued the ruling against it should be "reverse engineered" to be sure the $1.05 billion was legally arrived at by the jury, while Apple said the ruling should stand as is.

FIERCEST RIVAL

Samsung is Apple's fiercest global business rival, and their battle for consumers' allegiance is shaping the landscape of the smartphone and tablet industry, and has claimed several high-profile victims including Nokia (NOK1V.HE).

While most of the devices facing injunction are older and, in some cases, out of the market, such injunctions have been key for companies trying to increase their leverage in courtroom patent fights.

In October, a U.S. appeals court overturned a pretrial sales ban against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone, dealing a setback to Apple's battle against Google Inc's (GOOG.O) increasingly popular mobile software.

Some analysts say Apple's willingness to license patents to HTC (2498.TW) could convince Koh it does not need the injunction, as the two companies could arrive at a licensing deal.

Apple is also attempting to add more than $500 million to the $1 billion judgment because the jury found Samsung willfully infringed on its patents.

Samsung, for its part, wants the verdict overturned, saying the foreman of the jury in the trial did not disclose that he was once embroiled in litigation with Seagate Technology (STX.O), a company that Samsung invested in.

Both Apple and Samsung have filed separate lawsuits covering newer products, including the Samsung Galaxy Note II. That case is pending in U.S. District Court in San Jose and is set for trial in 2014. (Reporting By Poornima Gupta)

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