Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) and Samsung Electronics Co. were urged by a judge to narrow the claims in their dispute over smartphone patents and to report to the court on talks between the companies’ chief executives.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said today in federal court in San Jose, California, that she remains “pathologically optimistic” the companies can settle. Separately, in the event the jury is left to decide the case, she said she wants a statement from the companies by Aug. 18 reporting whether “there has been some successful horse trading” to streamline and simplify claims.
Apple sued Samsung in April 2011, accusing it of copying patented designs for mobile devices, and Samsung countersued. The case is the first to go before a federal jury in a battle being waged on four continents for dominance in a smartphone market valued by Bloomberg Industries at $219.1 billion.
The trial, now in its third week, continued today with testimony from Michael Wagner, an accountant called by Samsung (005930) to rebut Apple’s claims that it’s owed at least $2.5 billion in damages. Wagner said Cupertino, California-based Apple failed to include all of Samsung’s costs in its calculations.
In addition to damages, Apple is seeking to make permanent a preliminary ban it won on U.S. sales of a Samsung tablet, and extend the ban to Samsung smartphones. Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, is trying to persuade the jury to declare Apple’s patents (AAPL:US) invalid and to find that Apple has infringed its own patents.
Koh said yesterday that both sides face risks in a jury verdict and urged the CEOs to talk before jurors begin deliberating. Koh said she wants deliberations to begin by Aug. 21. Lawyers for the companies said they would comply with her request.
The judge earlier this year ordered Apple CEO Tim Cook to meet face to face with his counterpart at Samsung, Choi Gee Sung, who has since been replaced as CEO by Kwon Oh Hyun. The May conference didn’t yield a settlement.
“It’s at least worth one more try,” Koh said yesterday.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 11- cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
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