Originally Posted by quagmire
How does she uphold the validity of the patents, but sided with Samsung's argument that they didn't willfully violate the patents due to Samsung questioning the validity of them? They willfully violated them if they are indeed valid....
Oh well..... Legal BS( not because Apple lost, but because I don't understand it).
I'm a patent attorney so I can shed some light on this. The consequences of being held to be a "willful infringer" are severe. The judge can triple the damages awarded. Under current law, one of the ways of avoiding this is to request a legal opinion from independent counsel as to whether or not you infringe the patents and whether or not the patents are valid. When Samsung was accused of infringing these patents, I'm sure they hired outside counsel to evaluate the validity of the patents, as well as to evaluate whether they infringed. Outside counsel prepares a formal written opinion as to these issues. If this written opinion states that it is likely that the patents are invalid or that Samsung does not infringe, then Samsung may be allowed to rely on that opinion to the point that they are no longer considered a "willful infringer". There are no hard fast right or wrong answers when it comes to these legal issues....they are subject to the juries' and judge's interpretation of the facts and application of the law. The judge takes a look at the legal opinion that Samsung relied on, and if the conclusions in the opinion are based on a reasonable interpretation of the law and a reasonable application of the facts, then it will be sufficient to absolve Samsung from a willful infringement charge. Typically, the attorney that prepared the opinion is put on the stand and questioned by both sides. Samsung's attorneys try to show that his opinion was well reasoned and based on a proper application of the law and Apple's attorneys try to show that the analysis in the opinion was flawed. That's how the game is played. What trips people up is that they think that there is an absolute answer to these questions. That the patents are either valid or they're not, and if the judge finds that they're valid then how can Samsung claim to not be a willful infringer because they thought the patents were invalid. Well, the application of most laws involve a subjective component. That's why we have trials....because the facts are subject to more than one interpretation. Just because Samsung lost at trial does not mean that they could not have reasonably relied on opinion from outside counsel that the patents were invalid. The fact that the patents were ultimately held valid does not absolve them from liability, but it does absolve them from the punitive damages associated with being a willful infringer.