Judge: Time for smartphone giants to make global peace

A US federal judge said she will issue rulings aimed at resolving a multifaceted legal battle between Apple and Samsung Electronics, urging the world’s largest smartphone makers to settle their differences.

“I think it’s time for global peace,” US District Judge Lucy Koh told lawyers for the two electronics giants during a court hearing in San Jose.

Judge Koh appeared ready to trim a $1bn jury verdict Apple won over Samsung 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.

Judge Koh gave no indication on how she would rule on the sales ban request or by what amount she would cut the $1bn award. Samsung was demanding that she cut the award by more than half, but Judge 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 is set for trial in 2014. In addition, the two companies are locked in legal battles in several other countries.

At the hearing, lawyers were busy casting aspersions on the other side.

Harold McElhinny, for Apple, said Samsung “wilfully” made a decision to copy the iPad and iPhone.

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