The thermonuclear conflict isn’t over but.
The Supreme court docket sided with Samsung (SSNLF) on Tuesday and unanimously reversed an previous appeals court docket ruling that the company must pay $ 399 million to Apple (AAPL, Tech30) for patent infringement.
The court docket was no longer requested to weigh in on whether Samsung actually violated various Apple design patents. as a substitute, the courtroom dominated it is that you can imagine a design patent most effective covers a part of a product slightly than all of it.
Translation: just because a company’s product copies one or two features from a competitor does not essentially imply it has to forfeit all of that product’s earnings to its competitor.
The case now goes again to a lower court docket the place the two corporations will as soon as again take in the issue of how a lot Samsung should pay in damages for copying iPhone features.
“it is naturally a victory for Samsung,” says Michael Risch, a patent regulation professor at Villanova college. “How big a victory is still to be considered.”
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The Supreme court ruling is the latest twist in a long company combat. It goes again to a pledge from Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs to wage “thermonuclear struggle” towards those at the back of Android for what he noticed as a blatant reproduction of the iPhone.
In 2012, a jury dominated that Samsung must pay Apple more than $ 1 billion for copying the various hardware and device features from the iPhone and iPad. A federal decide later lowered that penalty with the aid of $ 450 million.
Samsung asked the Supreme court docket late final 12 months to study $ 399 million of those damages related to a few design patents, including its telephones’ rounded corners and home display display with 16 app icons. The patents impacted 11 Samsung phones. Samsung argued the injury was once calculated in line with an unfair and old-fashioned standard.
“although the patented features contributed 1% of the value of Samsung’s telephones, Apple will get a hundred% of Samsung’s profits,” Samsung said in its original appeals submitting.
The courtroom ruling offers a so much-needed win for Samsung at a time when it is dealing with a expensive fallout from exploding batteries in its Galaxy notice 7 smartphone line.
It additionally marked a uncommon occasion of the Supreme court docket weighing on design patents, with doable repercussions for different companies going ahead.
“this is the primary time the Supreme courtroom has been asked about it,” says Risch. “it’ll potentially reduce design patent damages.”
Reps for Samsung and Apple did not straight away respond to requests for comment.
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