Apple Loses Bid for a New Samsung Trial on Trade Dress

Apple Inc. lost its bid for a new trial over trade-dress claims against Samsung Electronics Co. for its iPad and iPad 2 in a ruling stemming from the patent-infringement case it won in San Jose, California, last year.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who oversaw the infringement trial, today denied Apple’s argument that jurors erred by finding Apple’s trade dress, or how a product looks, for the iPad and iPad 2 wasn’t protectable. The judge also denied Apple’s request that she overrule jurors’ conclusion that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 didn’t infringe one patent covering the design of Apple’s iPad tablet computer.

Apple’s bid to increase the $1.05 billion in damages it won against Samsung was rejected by Koh. The judge denied all of Apple’s post-trial requests in her ruling today except one. She found that two claims, or elements, of Samsung’s patent covering data transmission over wireless systems are invalid.

The jury didn’t find Apple infringed any of Samsung’s patents, and Koh didn’t say in her ruling today how Apple might benefit from her decision invalidating the claims. Koh ruled that Samsung’s acts of patent infringement weren’t willful.

Jurors decided Aug. 24 at the end of a trial that Samsung should pay the $1.05 billion for infringing six Apple patents. Apple, which lost its bid to block U.S. sales on 26 of the Galaxy maker’s devices, failed to establish that consumer demand for Samsung products was driven by technology it stole, Koh ruled earlier.

‘Slavishly Copying’

Samsung and Apple, which together make about half of the smartphones sold worldwide, have each scored victories in their patent disputes fought over four continents since Cupertino, California-based Apple accused Asia’s biggest electronics maker of “slavishly copying” its devices. The companies are competing for dominance of a global mobile-device market estimated by Yankee Group at $346 billion this year.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, declined to comment on Koh’s rulings. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, also declined to comment on the rulings.

The iPhone maker has asked a full panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington to review two appeals seeking to block sales of Samsung products that Apple says violate its patents.

A three-judge Federal Circuit panel said in October that Samsung could continue selling its newest Galaxy Nexus smartphone while battling patent-infringement claims by Apple. To obtain an order that would block sales, Apple must show that the patented search feature under dispute drives consumer demand for the product, the panel said.

The San Jose case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

The appeals in Washington are Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 13-1129, and Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 12-1507, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).

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