Court Overturns $120M Patent Verdict for Apple


     (CN) – Overturning a $120 million verdict against Samsung and invalidating two Apple patents, the Federal Circuit marked another chapter Friday in the long-running tech saga.
     The 49-page reversal from Washington represents the court’s third tome on smartphone patents.
     In the case at hand, Apple originally sought $2 billion in damages on claims that Samsung had infringed on five of its patents. Samsung countersued with infringement claims of its own.
     A jury in San Jose ultimately found both parties partly at fault in 2014, awarding Apple $119.6 million and Samsung $158,400.
     In today’s reversal, a unanimous three-judge panel invalidated Apple’s slide-to-unlock and autocorrect patents, also finding that Samsung did not infringe on the “quick links” patent.
     The ruling means Samsung can continue using these smartphone features, and will not have to make any changes to older models. Plus it will not have to cut Apple a $119.6 million check.
     Quick links allow devices to recognize data on the touchscreen – such as a phone number – and turn that data into a link that the user can click to take an action – such as making a phone call. The jury’s verdict of infringement of this patent accounted for nearly $99 million of the damages award against Samsung.
     Apple’s patent for the quick-links feature uses an analyzer server for detecting structures in the data and for linking actions to the detected structures.
     Writing for the appellate panel today, Judge Timothy Dyk, said “Apple failed to prove, as a matter of law, that the accused Samsung products use an ‘analyzer server’ as we have previously construed that term.”
     As to Apple’s slide-to-unlock and autocorrect patents, Dyk said that “the asserted claim of both patents would have been obvious based on prior art” and are, therefore, invalid.
     On the flip side, the circuit court sided with the jury in finding that Apple had infringed on Samsung’s patent related to camera systems and image compression. The $158,400 damages awarded to the South Korean-based company remains intact.
     Apple and Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling.
     Apple can still ask the Federal Circuit to rehear the case en banc or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
     This ruling comes out of the second patent-infringement trial between the two companies.
     An earlier trial ended in 2012 with Apple winning more than $500 million in damages for Samsung’s patent violations on even older smartphones and tablets.
     Samsung’s appeal of that decision is currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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