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US Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Samsung In Patent Dispute With Apple

US Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Samsung In Patent Dispute With Apple

The United States Supreme Court has decided in favor of Samsung in its highly publicized patent case against fierce rival Apple. With this ruling, the case has been sent back to a lower court in order to ascertain the amount of damages to be paid. For those not familiar with this legal dispute between two of the biggest smartphone sellers in the whole world, the South Korean tech giant had been ordered to pay the iPhone maker the amount of $399 million for infringing on certain iPhone patents involving certain design aesthetics such as a front phone face that features rounded corners and bezel. Samsung had appealed this court order, arguing that the amount was not properly computed in light of the minimum significance of the patented features being disputed. After the US Supreme Court had agreed to take the case, industry watchers expect the ruling to have a huge effect on other future patent disputes, especially those involving mobile technology.


As written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the 8-0 decision, the Patent Act contains a section (289) that offers a legal remedy for damages specific to patent disputes involving design. She further wrote: “This case involves the infringement of designs for smartphones. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit identified the entire smartphone as the only permissible ‘article of manufacture’ for the purpose of calculating Section 289 damages because consumers could not separately purchase components of the smartphones. The question before us is whether that reading is consistent with Section 289. We hold that it is not.”


This legal contest between Samsung and Apple has been a well documented one. Apple originally filed the case half a decade ago, claiming that no less than 11 Samsung branded mobile devices were in violation of Apple’s patents. Samsung was then ordered to pay Apple the amount of $930 million, but in May of last year, a US Court of Appeals revised that amount to $548 million. Although Samsung had acquiesced in December to pay the adjusted amount, it continued to push for an appeal to change the amount to $399 million. While all of this was going on, Samsung managed to gain support from tech firms, including Google, Facebook, Dell, and Hewlett Packard.