Samsung wants court to review damages in patent fight with Apple

The South Korean smartphone company has asked all judges of the appeals court to hear the case

Samsung Electronics has asked that a full bench of an appeals court should review a damages award in a long-standing patent infringement dispute with arch-rival Apple.

Apple sued Samsung in 2011 alleging that Samsung phones infringed on several iPhone patents. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded Apple damages of US$930 million after a jury found that Samsung infringed Apple's design and utility patents and diluted its trade dresses, which relate to the overall look and packaging of a product.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed last month with the jury's verdict on the design patent infringements, the validity of two utility patent claims, and the damages awarded for the design and utility patent infringements appealed by Samsung. But the appeals court reversed the jury's findings that the asserted trade dresses are protectable, and vacated the damages relating to trade dress dilution.

The appeals court decision shaved off $382 million in damages but $548 million still remained. Samsung is now challenging $399 million of the balance, which is an award of its entire profits from products found to infringe Apple's design patents, according to a Samsung filing Wednesday in the appeals court.

Samsung is asking the court to review the decision "en banc," a court session where a case is heard by all judges of the court. The previous decision by the three-judge panel, among other things, had upheld an award of all of Samsung's profits from the infringing products even though the patented designs are only minor features of those products, according to the filing.

"Unlike rugs, spoons, and simple mechanical objects, smartphones incorporate hundreds or thousands of different patented technologies, and it is undisputed here that Apple's design patents claim only partial, minor features of such devices and that some attributes of those designs are functional," Samsung's lawyers wrote in the filing.

The District Court had instructed the jury that Apple is entitled to all profit earned by Samsung on sales of devices that infringe Apple's design patents, which it defined as the "entire profit on the sale of the article to which the patented design is applied, and not just the portion of profit attributable to the design or ornamental aspects covered by the patent," according to the filing.

Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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Tags smartphonesApplelegalconsumer electronicsintellectual propertypatentSamsung Electronics

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John Ribeiro

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