Apple vs Samsung: Judge’s appeal for peace

It’s what most Miss World contestants ask for – and now a judge has appealed for “global peace” in the patents war between technology behemoths Apple and Samsung.

US District Court Judge Lucy Koh is busy considering whether to overturn Apple’s billion-dollar damages victory over Samsung.

But, after listening to submissions for several hours from Apple and Samsung’s legal teams, she declared: “I think it’s time for global peace,” adding: “Let me hear if there is anything the court can do. It would be good for consumers, good for the industry and good for the parties.”

Her comments come after Samsung was ordered to pay $1.05bn damages to Apple in the summer after a Californian court ruled Samsung had breached some of Apple’s patents.

In the latest case, Samsung is asking that the award be halved. But Apple is demanding that the damages amount actually be increased.

While Koh hasn’t declared which side of the fence she is likely to come down on, it is widely thought she is preparing to rework some of the jury’s damage calculations.

Jurors in the original case had filled out a form listing the amount of damages they believed Samsung owed Apple for 26 different products. Koh will be reviewing all 26 line items when it comes to making a decision about whether the $1.05bn should stand.

The judge will also be looking at whether Samsung’s call for a retrial should be considered. The Korean firm is claiming it wasn’t granted a fair trial because not only is the courthouse just a dozen miles from Apple’s headquarters but also the jury foreman Velvin Hogan had previously been sued by former employer Seagate Technology – in which Samsung is a large investor.

Samsung’s representative Charles Verhoeven said his client would be prepared to negotiate to reach a settlement with Apple, saying: “The ball is in their court”.

But Apple’s attorney, Harold McElhinny showed no interest in coming to a compromise. He urged Koh to take legal remedies which would stop a huge company like Samsung from copying Apple gadgets in the future.

Latest figures show that Samsung sold 55 million smartphones globally during the third quarter of this year, in comparison to Apple’s 23.6 million worldwide sales. That puts Samsung in a leading position with 32.5 per cent of the total market, with Apple taking 14 per cent.

Because of the company’s size, McElhinny said even $1.05bn would not have hurt it. He said the award was just a “slap on the wrist” to a firm as big as Samsung.

Koh has said she will issue a series of rulings over the next few weeks to deal with all of the issues which have been raised. Her decision will help shape the final result of this ongoing battle. But, ultimately, the bitter legal dispute is expected to end up in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, if not the highest court in the land, the US Supreme Court.

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