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Apple demands a quickie, aims its torpedo at 8 Samsung mobes

Judge Koh urged: Wham, ban, thank you ma'am

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Apple is seeking quick bans on eight of Samsung's phones after beating the South Korean firm to a bloody pulp in its US patent super-trial. Yet legal experts are unsure the verdict can hold up.

The fruity firm is wasting no time in seeking preliminary injunctions on Sammy mobes ahead of getting the permanent bans the jury verdict gives it access to. The panel handed Apple a resounding win in the case on Friday, awarding the firm a tidy $1.05bn in damages for infringement of its patents.

A whole slew of Samsung products, 28 tablets and phones in total, were listed in the suit, though not all were found to be infringing on fruity IP and some are no longer on the market in the US.

Out of that lot, Apple has singled out eight mobes to start with – including Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 phones and two others. The total list includes the Galaxy S 4G and Showcase, the Galaxy S2 AT&T, Skyrocket, T-Mobile and Epic 4G, the Droid Charge and the Galaxy Prevail.

"Apple reserves all rights regarding a permanent injunction, but has tailored this list to address a portion of the immediate, ongoing irreparable harm that Apple is suffering," the firm said in its court filing.

Judge Lucy Koh has scheduled an injunction hearing for 20 September, at which Samsung is likely to ask for the bans to be put on hold until after it finishes appealing.

The Korean chaebol plans to keep fighting the verdict, looking to overturn it or appeal if necessary. The firm said in an internal memo posted to its blog that it was very disappointed with the case.

"It is regrettable that the verdict has caused concern amongst our employees, as well as our loyal customers," the company said.

"The NDCA verdict starkly contrasts decisions made by courts in a number of other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and Korea, which have previously ruled that we did not copy Apple’s designs. These courts also recognised our arguments concerning our standards patents.

"History has shown there has yet to be a company that has won the hearts and minds of consumers and achieved continuous growth, when its primary means to competition has been the outright abuse of patent law, not the pursuit of innovation," it added, in a dig against Apple.

The jury reached its decision in just three days, handing over a jury verdict form that sided with Apple on almost every question and handed the firm over a billion dollars in damages.

But legal blogs have questioned whether the quick verdict can stand. Above the Law, a legal blog that followed the case on Friday when the decision was read out in court, wondered whether the jury could have deliberated fully in such a short time.

"Here’s the thing, ladies and gentlemen of the Apple v Samsung jury: It would take me more than three days to understand all the terms in the verdict! Much less come to a legally binding decision on all of these separate issues. Did you guys just flip a coin?" litigator Elie Mystal asked on the blog.

Meanwhile Groklaw pointed out that the jury's written verdict had to be amended because it was inconsistent.

"In two instances, results were crazily contradictory, and the judge had to have the jury go back and fix the goofs," paralegal Pamela Jones wrote. "As a result the damages award was reduced to $1,049,343,540, down from $1,051,855,000.

"For just one example, the jury had said one device didn't infringe, but then they awarded Apple $2m for inducement. In another they awarded a couple of hundred thousand for a device they'd ruled didn't infringe at all."

The amended verdict was filed with the court after the issues were fixed.

The jury's instructions also warned that damages were supposed to represent actual monetary harm and not some sort of punishment for infringement, which seems to be what the jury thought.

"We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist," jury foreman Velvin Hogan told Reuters. "We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable."

Professor Michael Risch, a professor of law at the Villanova University School of Law, also wondered how the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which was banned by the court in a preliminary injunction before the trial started, ended up being one of the only products that the jury ruled was not infringing.

Samsung has two routes to change the verdict. It can file for the judge to overturn it and it can then go on to an appeal. The judge would overturn the verdict on the basis that "no reasonable jury could find what it did on the evidence presented", a claim that could have more weight if Judge Koh doesn't think the jury spent enough time considering the issues.

Failing that, Samsung can still appeal and hope to get all or some of its products off the infringing list and get the damages reduced if it doesn't win outright. ®

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