Apple asks U.S. court to make Samsung remove infringing features

Apple also wants the court to review a jury order and hike damages

Following up on a jury verdict, Apple has asked a court in California to order Samsung Electronics to stop using features that were found to infringe three of its patents.

The company has also asked the court to review damages awarded by the jury or to order a retrial.

The injunction sought by Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division would cover features such as 'slide-to-unlock' on phone home screens for unlocking a device, auto-correct for prompts on the spelling of words, and the so-called 'quick links' feature for scanning text to identify certain types of structures such as phone numbers, dates and email addresses.

A jury in the California court ruled earlier this month that Samsung should pay Apple about US$119 million for infringing the three patents. The patent on auto-complete while typing had already been found to infringe, and the jury was only to calculate a damages award for that one. Some Apple products were also found to infringe a Samsung patent.

In a filing Saturday, Apple said it was not asking the court to bar entire product lines from the marketplace, but for an injunction that proposes to stop Samsung from further use of the specific features that the jury found to infringe Apple's three patents, and those features not more than "colorably different."

Apple has proposed a one-month "sunset period" for delay in enforcement. During this period, Samsung can "swap-in the non-infringing alternatives that it claims are already available and easy to implement," according to the redacted public version of the filing. Having represented that it can design around Apple's patents completely and quickly, Samsung cannot complain that Apple's narrowly-tailored injunction will deprive the public of a single Samsung product, it added.

"After the jury rejected Apple's grossly exaggerated damages claim, Apple is once again leaning on the court to push other smartphones out of the market. If granted, this would stifle fair competition and limit choice for American consumers," Samsung said in an emailed comment on Apple's request for an injunction.

Apple had requested the court for $2.2 billion in damages for what it alleged was massive infringement of five of its patents. In the wake of the far smaller damages awarded to it by the jury, the company is now also asking in a separate motion for higher damages for the patents Samsung was found to have infringed and a judgment that Samsung infringed the two other patents in the case.

The company has as an alternative asked for a new trial on infringement of the two patents that the jury found Samsung's products had not infringed and a new trial on damages for all five of Apple's asserted patents. Samsung did not comment on Apple's second motion.

A report in a South Korean newspaper had suggested that Samsung and Apple had recently agreed to begin talks to settle patent disputes out of court, citing people directly involved with the matter. In the court, though, the companies recently blamed each other for the failure of court-initiated negotiations to settle their dispute.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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