Last year, Apple won what was perhaps the largest legal victory in its war on Android when a court ruled that Samsung infringed its patents on a significant number of devices and owed the Cupertino company in excess of a billion dollars. Today, however, that same judge is vacating $450m from that total until a second damages trial with a new jury can commence.
That amount won't be stripped away entirely, mind you. The problem comes from the fact that the jury made some errors when it passed judgment on 14 of the infringing devices. Samsung's lawyers broke down the numbers for its damages and discovered that there were certain flaws in the way they were calculated. For starters, on devices that only infringed utility patents, the jury used a method for calculating damages that should only apply to devices that infringe design patents. Namely, factoring in Samsung's profits. There was also some confusion of the duration of time during which Apple was owed money.
The remaining $599 million still belongs to Apple, and it can attempt to collect that at any time. However, the two companies are still wrapped up in an appeals process, so it's unlikely Cupertino can really accomplish such a task until those trials are over.
In the meantime, there will need to be a new trial to determine how much Samsung really owes for those 14 devices. However, Judge Koh recommends that they not even bother with such proceedings until the appeals are over. After all, if it's later decided that certain devices didn't really infringe, then the entire retrial over damages is a pointless affair.
The important thing to take away from this is that, while it's good news for Samsung that it (probably) won't have to pay quite as much money, Apple still wins. The court still finds Samsung just as guilty as it ever did. Now we're just arguing over the math.
Source: FOSS Patents