Samsung did not wilfully infringe on Apple's patents, US District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled yesterday. The court’s verdict was in response to Apple's attempt to increase the damages it was awarded last August by a US jury. If the decision had gone against Samsung, the South Korea-based company could have been forced to pay triple the original judgement, or more than $3 billion.

In December, the same US court denied Apple's request for a permanent injunction against some of Samsung's smartphones. In August last year, the Cupertino-based company won $1.05 billion in damages and was awarded a pre-trial sales ban on some Samsung products.

Apple and Samsung in a legal limbo

Apple and Samsung have been slugging it out in the courtroom for over a year

Reuters reported that the latest ruling overrules the jury's finding Samsung guilty of acting “willfully” when violating Apple's patents. “To the extent that Apple does address lost downstream sales, Apple discusses only Samsung's gains and makes no attempt to identify any specific losses Apple has suffered,” U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh wrote in her ruling. “The court will not speculate as to how, precisely, the jury calculated its damages award,“ she said, before adding that the earlier decision “intended to compensate Apple for losses stemming from all of the violations the jury found.

Koh said the court could not enhance the damages “given that Apple has not clearly shown how it has in fact been undercompensated for the losses it has suffered due to Samsung's dilution of its trade dress,” or, the look and feel of its products.

Koh also denied requests from both parties for a new trial. Samsung had implored the court that a major patent verdict in Apple’s favour should be overturned, while Apple had sought a new trial to overturn some of the jury's findings from the 2012 decision and to try other issues that were not in contention. The judge also denied Apple's motion for a judgement that Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 infringes an iPad design patent.

The judge rejected Samsung’s claims that Apple’s patents could be termed “indefinite,” meaning that the details of the patents aren’t particular enough when describing the technology they cover.

Between them, Samsung and Apple shipped a little less than 50 percent of all smartphones sold worldwide last year. Both companies are engaged in a bitter legal dispute over patents and each have scored victories. It all began when Apple first took the Korean company to court in early 2011, accusing one of the world’s biggest electronics makers of copying its devices and the iconic UI employed in the iPhone.

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