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Posted : 2012-08-26 16:16
Updated : 2012-08-26 16:16

Samsung scrambles to recover after uppercut


An Apple Inc. logo is reflected on a Samsung notebook computer.
/ AP-Yonhap
By Kim Yoo-chul

Samsung Electronics’ uphill court battle against Apple in the United States over intellectual property patent infringement now looks insurmountable after a jury in San Jose awarded the American technology giant an overwhelming victory.

While Samsung officials in Seoul weren’t expecting a convincing win in a trial held at the heart of Silicon Valley, they hadn’t been expecting such a lopsided loss either.

Jurors awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, deciding that Samsung did indeed copy the look and feel of iPhones and iPads in its own lineup of smartphones and touch-screen tablets. They rejected all of Samsung’s claims against Apple, which included critical third-generation (3G) wireless technologies.

Samsung executives were still reeling in shock Sunday, but provided no clear hint on the company’s next move in the showdown with its industry archrival. It’s widely expected that Samsung will appeal, but the outlook for success in the appeal now looks rather murky.

``It’s absolutely the worst scenario for us,’’ a senior Samsung executive said as he rushed into the company’s compound in southern Seoul.

Inside the building, Choi Gee-sung, former Samsung Electronics CEO and now the head of Samsung Group’s corporate strategy division, was holding an emergency meeting attended by Shin Jong-kyun, the company’s mobile devices chief, and Lee Don-joo, lead marketing official.

Ahead of the court decision, Choi met twice with Apple CEO Tim Cook to talk about a settlement, but negotiations failed.

While Choi, Shin and Lee were tight lipped and refused to acknowledge reporters as they arrived at around 9 a.m., Shin is expected to address the media sometime this week.

In the U.S., Samsung has made it clear it will appeal and plans to file a motion for JMOL (judgment as matter of law) today.

The motion could only be made once after the opposing party has presented its case.

If there’s no evidence to support Samsung’s argument, the verdict is entered by the court and the case is over. If Samsung shows sufficient evidence to make a reasonable conclusion, but there is equally strong evidence to support an opposite conclusion, the party with the burden of persuasion fails.

``Judge Lucy Koh will make the final ruling in the next few weeks. Samsung will try best to persuade Koh that we didn’t willfully infringe on Apple’s design patents. Samsung, however, is ready to bring the issue to the Supreme Court as the verdict was based on protectionism,’’ said a Seoul-based patent lawyer.

Apple is expected to file for a ``post verdict motion.’’ If the request is accepted, then Samsung should pay more than $3 billion, according to legal experts.

``As far as I know, it’s very rare for the presiding judge to make a decision going against the verdict by jurors,’’ said one Samsung official.

Apple is seeking a complete ban on the sale of some of Samsung’s latest Galaxy line of devices though Samsung’s strategic Galaxy S III smartphones and design-improved Galaxy Tab 10.1 were excluded from the request. But chances are high the Galaxy S III will eventually become targeted by Apple.

Patent attorneys say Apple will be more active to sign a cross-licensing deal with Samsung as Apple is now in a better position for negotiations over patents.

Apple has interests to use some Samsung-owned wireless technology even in its LTE-sports next iPhone with discounted fees that aren’t acceptable to Samsung.

Apple spokesman Steve Park wasn’t available for comment.

Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an intra-organization e-mail, which has been leaked online. Cook, who just completed his first year in office, said that with this verdict, ``values have won.’’

``We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work. For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money,’’ Cook said.

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