Last Updated: March 3rd, 2013

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

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://www.maverickcreative.ca/ Joshua Richards

    This still blows my mind.

  • Christopher Robert

    #correction "Apple won what was perhaps the largest legal victory in its war on Android"

    Apple has never won a law suit against Android. They won a lawsuit again Samsung. Google is working hard at making sure these two different brands are kept separate. This Lawsuit was never a direct attack at Google or Android it dealt with specific features added in TouchWiz and the physical look of the Samsung Android Devices.

    • New_Guy

      ...and, pound for pound, it's not a big victory. First of all, no one even cares anymore. Secondly, Samsung loses about 1 1/2 to 2 months worth of profit in this. Ha! It was nothing to Sammy then, and with the new Galaxy s IV nearing release, it will mean nothing tomorrow.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      No one said they won a lawsuit against Android. I said Apple won a legal victory in its war on Android. The war on Android has included lawsuits against a ton of companies. This is not entirely about Apple versus Samsung. However, the win over Samsung is the single biggest victory out of all the lawsuits.

      Also, I think it's a little silly to think that Apple is not at war with Android. At least during the time that most of these lawsuits began (under Jobs), the goal was to get at Android via whatever legal means it could. Apple has difficulty targeting Google and Android because Google didn't make products, but the manufacturers did. However, this is, very much, a war on Android. To think otherwise is silly.

      • http://profiles.google.com/bajica Branimir Matković

        You are so wrong, Samsung copied iPhone design, they also added touchwiz to copy look and feel of iOS, this is entirely Samsung fault, Android doesn't look like that and nether any of nexus devices look like Apple devices. If Galaxy S was using symbian and had same look and feel of iPhone would you say that Apple is at war with symbian or with Samsung for copying them. You are just putting "big" words to make an article look "cool". We have brains and can decide for our self, you just tell us the facts and don't make things up. I hope you take this as an advice so we can read better articles from you.

        • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

          Haha lol, you are one of those who drank the cool aid. No one copied Apple because their design and UI is from 2007 and sucks. Get over it! TouchWiz is far superior and different UI and has nothing to do with apple 4x4 grid of icons which by the way can be copied by anyone because it is not and invention!!! So shut up already!

        • marcusmaximus04

          They were also found to be infringing on software patents, including for the Galaxy Nexus(which obviously runs only stock Android software).

        • Matthew Fry

          Perhaps Samsung did try to copy. On the other hand, when you are trying to directly compete against a specific product and you pound on it for a while, always trying to match or beat in features, things start getting a samey quality to them. I think that that is more likely the case and maybe Apple deserves some damages for that. That applies to the original Galaxy S (although, my Epic 4G looks nothing like an iPhone) but not subsequent devices.

          Regardless, there is a clear and consistent trail of law suits and complaints and accusations that can easily be deduced as a generalized attack on Android as a platform by Apple. Apple has shown itself to be a bully and full of double standards and are just pissed off that Android has finally caught up and, by the very nature of how it is created and maintained, will evolve faster than iOS.

  • Erik Cho

    Is this still going on? Oh yeah it is. And it's still as pointless as ever. At this rate Apple may not collect anything for at least the next 3 years, by then there will probably be new devices to add to the list.

    • New_Guy

      Will be for probably another 1 - 2 years...at least. There are appeals that have not been addressed yet. And after that, they could have a second trial to discuss the adjusted damages. This is going to go on for a while. Samsung may not pay a dime for the next 3 - 4 years. By then, the time value of that amount of money would also have dropped significantly. This whole thing is an hilarious joke.

      • Erik Cho

        Agreed. At this point, if I were Apple, I'd be more disturbed by all of the legal fees I'm sure is going into this. Winning out right and taking the cash is one thing, but to spend so much basically just to go back and forth is ridiculous.
        I think you have a point there, ultimately this is getting Apple some attention even if it's not in the perfect light it's keeping their name in the press on regular basis with a bit of "umph!" Not that they really need it anyway. No matter how many times Samsung infringes patents, Apple will never be completely out of the lime light and they'll always make a killing in the retail space with their idiotic devices.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507973810 Martin Cataldi-Rogers

    by the time apples finished it will of spent 600 million

  • New_Guy

    Apple wins??? how exactly? They get $500mil?

    Here's what i say: The original judgement was estimated to be around 1q worth of profits for Samsung in 2012. This will be about a month and half's worth of profits now. For Big Sam, that's a joke. It's all they had to pay Apple to use their trade dress in the original Galaxy S and leverage themselves to Android supremacy. Not only that, but free press, and the ability to cry victim to the big bad fruit.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Apple deserves to get crushed and I think it's hilarious that they can't seem to stop Samsung from doing it no matter what they do. But, did Apple win? Pffff, Heeeeeck no!

    • Mithra

      They "win" because the court ruled in their favour, he's not talking about some abstract "who gains most", rather the absolute definition of whether Apple or Samsung were determined to be 'in the right' by the court, something which has not changed.

  • spydie

    I disagree, this finding shows that apple did not win entirely, and maybe not at all when the smoke clears. That's what appeals are for. Judgements are very often overturned at appeals, or reduced to a fraction of what they were if they were unreasonable. Samsung could come out of this on top, or very close to it when the smoke clears years from now. Just because the corrupt jury (lead by an apple-backer) says apple won, doesn't mean they actually won. It could only be a very short term win... just on paper, just for now. things change before it's all over. We might find out it was a hollow victory for apple, or no victory at all.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Appeals may show that Apple didn't really win those devices, but yes, this decision doesn't make Apple win any less, aside from money. Appeals are no guarantee that the decision will be overturned. Samsung could come out on top, sure. That doesn't mean it will, though. And in the meantime, we have to deal with reality.