Finally ruling on a hearing held in early December, Judge Koh decided that Apple's billion-dollar verdict won't be getting any bigger - having formally ruled that Samsung did not infringe Apple's patents willfully. Willful infringement is a concept in patent law that is largely self-explanatory (at least in a non-technical sense): did the defendant purposefully or with wanton disregard for obvious risk infringe the plaintiff's patents?

The jury in this trial held that Samsung did willfully infringe. Judge Koh disagreed, overruling the jury's findings on the matter. This finding most likely will not adversely affect Apple's damages award, as willful infringement damages are assessed by a judge, not a jury. If Koh had agreed with the jury, certain portions of Apple's award may have been up to tripled in amount. However, there have been serious questions since the verdict was reached about whether or not the vast bulk of that one-billion dollar sum was even eligible for such an increase, so today's ruling doesn't change too much.

It will, though, give Samsung a chance to publicly vindicate itself in some respects. By at least being able to declare there was no objective reason it should have known Apple's patents were infringed by its products, Samsung can push a narrative of a more 'forgivable' guilt (or as the case may be, non-guilt) to appellate courts.

Judge Koh also denied Apple's request for a new trial on findings of non-infringement and various other issues on which Apple did not prevail during the trial. Apple's unregistered iPad trade dress, for example, was deemed not protectable and not famous by the jury, and Judge Koh upheld that finding. On Apple's allegations of FRAND patent abuse by Samsung, Koh agreed with the jury's conclusion: Apple's claim was without merit.

Finally, Koh denied many of Samsung's claims alleging invalidity of certain Apple patents it was deemed to infringe during the trial, as well as Samsung's numerous grounds requesting a retrial. In summary, Judge Koh's ruling today is best paraphrased as "Don't like the result? Go to a higher court with your grievances."

As you might guess, we can expect many of these issues to go to appeal, assuming the dispute is not resolved in a settlement before the next round of legal slapfighting begins.

Ruling via The Verge, FOSS Patents