Judge aims to resolve Apple-Samsung row T-Mobile to get Apple devices

SAN JOSE, California, Dec 7, (AP):  Urging the world’s largest smartphone makers to settle their differences, a federal judge said she will issue rulings aimed at resolving a multifaceted legal battle between Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics. “I think it’s time for global peace,” US District Judge Lucy Koh told lawyers for the two electronics giants, during a court hearing Thursday in San Jose. Koh appeared ready to trim a $1 billion jury verdict Apple won over Samsung Electronics this summer. She said over the next several weeks she would issue a series of rulings to address the many legal issues raised at the hearing.


Samsung is seeking a new trial or a reduction of the verdict that resulted from a lawsuit Apple filed in 2011. Apple, on the other hand, urged the judge to add millions more to the award and permanently ban the US sales of eight Samsung smartphone models a jury in August said illegally used Apple technology.
Koh gave no indication on how she would rule on the sales ban request or by what amount she would cut from the $1 billion award. Samsung was demanding that she cut the award by more than half, but Koh gave no hint that she sided with that argument or Apple’s separate argument for an increase in the award.
Apple filed a second lawsuit earlier this year, alleging that Samsung’s newer products are unfairly using Apple’s technology. That’s set for trial in 2014. In addition, the two companies are locked in legal battles in several other countries.
At Thursday’s hearing, lawyers for each company responded by casting aspersions on the other side.


Decision
Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny claimed that Samsung “willfully” made a business decision to copy Apple’s iPad and iPhone, and he called the jury’s $1.05 billion award a “slap in the wrist.” McElhinny said Apple intended to keep on fighting Samsung in court until it changed its business ways.
In turn, Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven responded that Apple was attempting to “compete through the courthouse instead of the marketplace.” He said Apple wants to tie up Samsung in courts around the world rather than competing with it head-on.
In the third quarter of 2012, Samsung sold 55 million smartphones to Apple’s 23.6 million sales worldwide, representing 32.5 percent of the market for Samsung compared with Apple’s 14 percent.
Earlier in the hearing, Koh appeared ready to rework some of the jury’s damage calculations. The jurors filled out a verdict form listing the amount of damages Samsung owed Apple for 26 separate products. For instance, the jurors said Samsung owed Apple nearly $58 million for sales of its Prevail smartphone found to have used Apple’s “tap-and-zoom” technology. But the type of patent violation the jury found doesn’t lend itself to that big of an award for the product, Koh said, musing that it appeared that Apple could recover perhaps $8 million over the Prevail dispute.


That was just one of 26 line items Koh is reviewing when it comes to considering the jury’s $1.05 billion verdict. She is also considering Samsung’s demand for the verdict to be completely wiped out and for a new trial to be held. Samsung raises a host of legal issues in arguing it was deprived of a fair trial in a courthouse a dozen miles from Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters. One of it arguments is that jury foreman Velvin Hogan committed misconduct when he didn’t divulge he had been sued by his former employer, Seagate Technology, in 1993. Samsung is a large investor in Seagate.
Koh showed no indication of what she thought of the argument, and most legal experts said Samsung had no chance of prevailing on that issue because it happened more than 20 years ago and Hogan wasn’t specifically asked about it.
 

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will move production of one of its existing lines of Mac computers from China to the United States next year.
Industry watchers said the announcement is both a cunning public-relations move and a harbinger of more manufacturing jobs moving back to the US as wages rise in China.
Cook made the comments in part of an interview taped for NBC’s “Rock Center,” but aired Thursday morning on “Today” and posted on the network’s website.
In a separate interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, he said that the company will spend $100 million in 2013 to move production of the line to the US from China.
“This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves, but we’ll be working with people and we’ll be investing our money,” Cook told Bloomberg.


That suggests the company could be helping one of its Taiwanese manufacturing partners, which run factories in China, to set up production lines in the US devoted to Apple products. Research firm IHS iSuppli noted that both Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles iPhones, and Quanta Computer Inc., which does the same for MacBooks, already have small operations in the US.
Apple representatives had no comment Thursday beyond Cook’s remarks. Like most consumer electronics companies, Apple forges agreements with contract manufacturers to assemble its products overseas. However, the assembly accounts for a fraction of the cost of making a PC or smartphone. Most of the cost lies in buying chips, and many of those are made in the US, Cook noted in his interview with NBC. The company and Foxconn have faced significant criticism this year over working conditions at the Chinese facilities where Apple products are assembled. The attention prompted Foxconn to raise salaries.


Also:
NEW YORK:
T-Mobile will likely start carrying the iPhone next year after its parent company, Deutsche Telekom, said it has reached a new deal with Apple.
T-Mobile USA had been the lone iPhone-less carrier among the four national wireless companies in the US. Although it has been possible to use iPhones on T-Mobile networks, customers had to provide the phones themselves. The phones also work at much slower speeds, though T-Mobile has been reshuffling its network to match or exceed AT&T’s data speeds.
The three larger carriers, AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp., already sell the iPhone, as do many smaller ones.


Deutsche Telekom AG said Thursday that T-Mobile will add Apple products to its portfolio in the coming year. Though it didn’t mention the iPhone by name in its press release, that’s the product it is most likely referring to. It’s possible T-Mobile will also sell a cellular version of the iPad, as the three national carriers do.
Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison confirmed the agreement but would not comment further. In an email, T-Mobile also wouldn’t mention the iPhone by name, saying only that more details will come “at a later date.”
T-Mobile has agreed to combine its cellphone business with MetroPCS Communications Inc in a deal they signed earlier this fall. The combined company will stay No. 4 among US wireless carriers, though the combination is aimed at letting the two better compete with larger rivals. Deutsche Telekom will hold a 74 percent stake in the combined company. MetroPCS shareholders will own the rest. The deal awaits government clearance.

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