Samsung Loses Bid to Pause New Damages Trial in Apple Case

Samsung Electronics Co. lost a bid to delay a new trial over damages for some its products found by a U.S. jury in August to have infringed Apple Inc. patents.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, refused to grant the Suwon, South Korea-based company’s request to put the damages trial on hold while a U.S. appeals court weighs Samsung’s challenge to the validity of the iPhone maker’s patents. The judge set the new trial for November.

“It’s going to be ‘Groundhog Day,’” Koh said today at a hearing, referring to the 1993 film about a weatherman who repeatedly relives the same day. “There’s going to be nothing new in this case,” meaning issues such as supplemental damages and pre-judgment interest will be litigated “a different day,” Koh said.

Apple, seeking to streamline the trial so it can begin in September, or earlier, argued that Samsung has “dragged its feet at every turn” in an attempt to delay its start, according to a court filing.

Koh ordered the new trial on damages last month at the same time as she cut $450.5 million from last year’s $1.05 billion jury award against Samsung. She said the jury based its award for 14 Samsung products on an incorrect legal theory. The judge today cut one product from the group.

Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, declined to comment on today’s ruling.

A witness for Cupertino, California-based Apple whose testimony the jury relied on “presented a theory that the court had ruled legally impermissible,” Koh said in her March 1 ruling. The judge said that despite her explicit instruction that the theory couldn’t be used, “the amount of the award made plain that the jury had applied the impermissible theory anyway.”

Sales Ban

Koh, who had previously rejected Apple’s bid to ban U.S. sales on 26 of the Galaxy maker’s devices, also denied the iPhone maker’s request to increase the jury’s award, saying the amount Samsung owed was heavily disputed and the jury wasn’t bound to accept either side’s damages estimate. The jury’s award for 14 other products stands at $598.9 million, she said.

Samsung and Apple, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, have each scored victories in patent disputes fought over four continents since 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 researcher Yankee Group at $346 billion in 2012.

Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on today’s ruling.

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

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