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Judge rules Apple entitled to potential ongoing royalties from patent-infringing Samsung products

In an order filed late Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh granted in part Apple's motion requesting ongoing royalties from Samsung, though there is only a slight chance that Apple will find reason to collect.

Samsung Design Europe 2009 iPhone copy doc


Judge Koh's ruling awards Apple ongoing post-judgment royalties on possible continuing sales of Samsung models found in infringement of three Apple patents, as well as future products similar to those already found to infringe.

The order applies to the second Apple v. Samsung jury trial heard in California, where Samsung was found guilty of infringing on three Apple patents, two of which — the '647 patent for data detectors and the '721 patent for "slide-to-unlock" — were decided by a jury. A summary judgment handed down by Judge Koh in the days leading up to trial found Samsung in infringement of Apple's '172 patent for predictive text input.

As noted by FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, a distinction must be made in that Apple is not guaranteed royalties from future Samsung sales, but may potentially seek payments on ruled infringed products and only under very narrow circumstances. Specifically, as it pertains to products adjudicated during trial proceedings, Apple would have to prove Samsung continued to sell offending devices post judgment and that these devices infringed its patents in the same way a trial jury decided in May.

The public version of the ruling redacts exact royalty amounts, though it does specify separate rates for ten Samsung products and those "no more than colorably different" from adjudicated models. Mueller believes the final royalty rates will likely be made public in upcoming appeals proceedings.

Today's ruling points out that Samsung previously claimed continuing remedies are not necessary as products no infringement allegations were leveled on products sold after 2012. Samsung also said it designed workarounds for Apple's patents, adding that post-verdict sales of products accused to be in infringement have already ended. A lone Galaxy S III version is still on sale but does not use code that infringes Apple's '647 data detectors patent.

From Judge Koh's judgment, filed alongside today's order:

For the reasons stated in the November 25, 2014 Order Granting Apple's Motion for Ongoing Royalties, Samsung is ordered to pay ongoing royalties for any continuing infringement at the per-unit rates set forth in that Order. Those royalties shall apply to products adjudicated to infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 5,946,647; 8,046,721; and 8,074,172, and to products "not more than colorably different therefrom." The starting date for any ongoing royalties shall be after the date of this Judgment.

Samsung quickly appealed the ruling in its own filing later Tuesday.

Apple and Samsung agreed to settle all non-U.S. patent disputes in August, leaving the California cases open. The companies will next meet on Dec. 5 when a hearing is scheduled to hear Samsung's appeal of the final judgment in the first Apple v. Samsung jury trial, which ended in an initial $1.05 billion win for Apple. That number was later whittled down to $929 million due to juror error and appeal. Apple dropped its appeal of the same ruling in July.