Appeals Court Rules For Apple In One Of Its Patent Infringement Fights With Samsung

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen

Apple just won the latest round in one of its fights with Samsung over patent infringement, with a federal appeals court ruling that reinstates a $119.6 million patent-infringement verdict it scored.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in an 8-3 ruling [PDF] that three-judge panel shouldn’t have thrown out the verdict in February, and instructed the trial judge to consider whether Apple is actually due more money based on any intentional infringement by Samsung.

This fight centers on a number of software patents that Apple claims Samsung infringed, including autocorrect, a way to detect phone numbers so they can be tapped to initiate a phone call, and the slide-to-unlock feature for smartphones and tablets. In 2014, Apple said it wanted $40 for each phone sold that used one of the patents in question, for a total of about $2 billion in damages.

The court first issued a summary judgment that Samsung had infringed the patent for the autocorrect feature, and a jury then found that it had infringed the two other patents as well. Apple got damages of $119.6 million for those infringements.

Then in January 2016, Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California banned Samsung from selling certain smartphones that infringed on those three patents held by its rival.

The next month, however, a three-judge panel threw out that $119.6 million verdict and ruled that Samsung didn’t infringe on Apple’s detection patent, and said the other two patents were invalid.

The court ruled today that that was not the right decision, because it relied on issues that were never raised on appeal or on information that was beyond the trial record, Bloomberg notes.

“The jury verdict on each issue is supported by substantial evidence in the record,” Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore wrote for the majority.

This is all separate from another patent infringement lawsuit going on between the two, which is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court this fall. Samsung is appealing a $548 million award it was ordered to pay for allegedly copying the look and feel of the iPhone — most notably the pinch-to-zoom feature.

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