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Samsung Won't Get New Trial; Judge Koh Slaps Apple for Nationalistic Appeal

Samsung had objected to Apple lawyers pointing out in their closing that TVs are no longer made in the U.S.

Ina Fried

The federal judge overseeing the Apple versus Samsung patent case denied the Korean electronics giant a new trial, but criticized Apple’s lawyers for making an appeal to national pride during their closing argument.

In the closing argument, made during a partial retrial of the case, Apple’s lawyers noted that while several domestic brands once made televisions, they failed to protect their intellectual property, and now no TVs are made here. Samsung asked for a mistrial at the time, but Judge Lucy Koh denied the request, instead calling back the jury and reminding them only that they were not to allow anything other than the evidence to sway their decision.

After the case, Samsung again asked for a new trial, which Judge Koh denied on Friday, though she did call Apple’s closing argument “troubling.”

The judge cited statistics that show that foreign companies suing domestic ones for infringement fare far poorer than domestic ones that claim infringement by a foreign firm.

“Particularly in light of this empirical context and the high-profile nature of this litigation, the Court expresses its disapproval and disappointment in the comments that led to the instant motion,” Koh said in her ruling. “Counsel in this case have been exceptionally well prepared, and the Court has no doubt that counsel carefully chose each theme before presenting it to the jury in closing arguments.”

Nonetheless, she let the jury verdict in the retrial stand.

In that retrial, which pertained to a portion of the damages in the case, the jury awarded Apple $290 million in damages. Samsung also owes roughly $600 million from the first trial, although both sides are appealing various elements of the case.

Meanwhile, the parties are due back in court in March for trial in a second patent case, this one dealing with a newer crop of phones than dealt with in the last trial (and retrial).

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