A Smartphone Battle In The US Supreme Court

The SCOTUS enters the smartphone wars in oral arguments on Tuesday.  The case, Samsung against Apple, could have major repercussions for tech products across the board.

The Supreme Court, which hasn’t heard a design patent case in more than 120 years, could dodge the case and send it back to the lower courts for further consideration or it could tackle the design question in house.

The case has complications, including challenges to the original jury instructions and other legal issues.

The two smartphone giants have been battling each other, not just in the marketplace but also in the courts, since 2011, a year after Samsung unveiled a new set of smartphones, including the Galaxy.  Like iPhones, the Samsung products, for the first time, had rounded corners and square icons on a touchscreen.

Apple alleged, in part, that Samsung had infringed three design patents for components of the iPhone — the front face of the device, the rounded edges framing the face, and the matrix of square icons.

In 2012, a jury ruled in Apple’s favor and Samsung was ordered to pay $399 million in damages, all the profits it had made on 11 infringing phone models.  Samsung appealed, arguing that it should not have to fork over its total profits; rather, it should only be liable for the specific design elements it infringed

Samsung warns that a victory for Apple will unleash a torrent of litigation, as design patent holders seek huge awards for infringement of elementary design components.  Tech companies, including Google, Dell and Facebook, share that concern.  In a brief supporting Samsung, they claim a win for Apple would have “a devastating impact” on investment in technological products.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply