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Apple Inc. (AAPL): $1B Award Reduced, New Trial v. Samsung Ordered

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the second most-favored stock play among our list of equity hedge funds we track, was enjoying its landmark $1 billion patent-infringement award against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in a California courtroom last summer. But then something happened. That pesky appeals process not only put a dent in the award, but actually led to the decision to drag the two tech heavyweights through another trial.

In a decision handed down this week, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh – who presided over the initial trial – cut the $1.05 billion award originally handed down by more than $450 million and said that Samsung should get a new trial to answer for patent-infringement claims against the Samsung Prevail and other smartphones. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had pushed for a tripling of the award by claiming that Samsung willfully infringed patents with several of its smartphones, but Koh rejected that motion, stating that the original jury award was disputed and saying that the jury was not bound by the damage estimate offered by either side.

Apple Inc. (AAPL)However, Koh ruled that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was eligible to receive more damages for sales of Samsung products that infringed but not considered by the jury. She said she would calculate that amount of damage from August 25, the day following the original verdict. However, as the case is currently under appeal, Koh said she would delay receiving any evidence regarding additional awards until after the appeals are completed. She also did not set a date for a new trial, leaving that until after any appeals of this most recent order are completed.

Neither company has yet to offer official comment on this latest order.

What do you think? Does this indicate weakness in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) claims of Samsung infringing patents, or does it sign weakness in Apple’s patent portfolio? Does Samsung has the upper hand in this battle now? We’d like your thoughts in the comments section below.

DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.

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