Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) wants to jump on its recent jury victory in a U.S. courtroom where it won a major patent-infringement lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. With a post-trial hearing schedule for Friday in California, where Judge Lucy Koh will decide the final amount of the damages that Samsung would pay to Apple for infringing on several of Apple’s patents.
By federal law, the judge has the discretion to increase the damage award by triple if the judge determines that the patent infringement was willful and deliberate. That would mean the damage award could be set to more than $3 billion. And Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), in its usual aggressive stance in defending its patent portfolio, has filed a motion with the judge asking for the highest possible damage award, according to an article published on a Korea media site.
However, there seems to be some mixed opinions as to whether Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would have a strong case to win the super-sized award. While the jury took just three days to come to the decision that Samsung did infringe on Apple patents, there seems to be some questions about how the awards was handed down and how the jury filled out the 700-question jury decision form. There are charges of “power intoxication” by the jury foreman, who sold some patents for use in Apple Inc. (NADAQ:AAPL) devices and is charged with ignoring jury instructions in filling out the questionnaire and determining the award for Apple.
“Patent rights only benefit society when they encourage innovation that would not otherwise have taken place,” said Santa Clara University law professor Brian Love, who provided an example of how an infringement award like this could be considered unreasonable. “Can Apple credibly claim that it would not have entered the smartphone market, where it is presently enjoying 50 percent profit margins even with competition from Android makers, had it not been able to obtain these broad patents? I think the answer is no.’’
Once again, a courtroom in California will be the focus of the tech world this week, as all eyes will look in to see how Judge Koh will rule on this award. Investors in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), like hedge-fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, may already have the award figured into their holdings, but some may not.