Apple, Samsung Patent Infringement Damages Retrial Primer

Apple and Samsung are set to square off in U.S. Federal Court today for a retrial to determine just how much money Samsung owes as damages for infringing on the iPhone and iPad maker's patents. Apple scored a big win in its patent fight with the electronics maker last year, but part of the damages the company was awarded was tossed out for being improperly calculated.

Apple, Samsung patent infringement damages retrial starts todayApple, Samsung patent infringement damages retrial starts today

The Apple win came in August 2012 when a Federal Jury ruled that Samsung infringed on a long list of the company's mobile device patents, and also ruled that Apple wasn't infringing on any of Samsung's patents. Apple was awarded over $1 billion in damages, part of which was set aside when the court determined the Jury hadn't correctly handled the calculation process for determining just how much Apple was owed.

Instead of leaving Apple high and dry on the $365 million that was improperly calculated, however, the court scheduled a retrial to determine the what the company is owed for the devices that were part of the bad math. The remaining amount is still owed to Apple -- assuming Samsung doesn't get that overturned in appeal -- and the part that's the focus of this new trial could ultimately be higher or lower than was awarded by the first Jury.

Today's trial isn't determining whether or not Samsung infringed on Apple's mobile device patents. That determination came last year, making this new trial about figuring out what to do for the dollar amount that was tossed out.

Samsung is hoping to convince the new Jury that it shouldn't have to pay more damages while Apple would like to see that $365 million figure pushed up higher. There isn't any guarantee Apple will get what it wants, but the fact that it did so well in the original trial is a good sign.

Once this retrial runs its course, Samsung will be back in front of Judge Lucy Koh to face possible sanctions for taking confidential documents related to Apple and Nokia licensing agreements and then allegedly using those to gain an unfair advantage in its own licensing talks. The company, along with its legal firm, could be hit with stiff sanctions for sharing the documents and then dragging their feet during the court's investigation into the incident.

So far, Samsung hasn't come out well in its legal patent fights with Apple. Today's retrial has the potential to keep that streak alive, and the upcoming sanctions hearing in December will likely play out poorly, too.

That's OK news for Apple, but not great, because Samsung's modus operandi is to stay a step ahead of the legal system by releasing new products faster than the courts can keep up with the case load. Don't expect to see the fight between Apple and Samsung to end any time soon. Samsung's tactics are working well for the company so far, and that means we'll be reading about their court room battles for at least the next few years.