US Supreme Court kills $535m patent award against Samsung in Apple case

A lower court incorrectly awarded damages based on the whole smartphone, not the patented pieces, justices say

The U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated a US$399 million infringement award against Samsung Electronics in a long-running design patent dispute with Apple.

The court, in an 8-0 decision, kicked back the patent award to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, saying the lower court calculated the patent award based on the whole iPhone, while the design patents may cover only pieces of the device.

The Federal Circuit's failure to consider a smaller damage award based on pieces of the iPhone "cannot be squared" with patent law, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the Supreme Court. The lower court, in its ruling, said it could not separate out the infringing pieces of the smartphones because they were not available for sale to the public, she noted.

But "the term 'article of manufacture' [in patent law] is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product, whether sold separately or not," Sotomayor wrote.

The damage award relates to three design patents covering the face and rounded bezel design of the iPhone and the grid of sixteen icons on the phone's home screen.

Samsung, with support from Google, Facebook, and other tech companies, had asked the Supreme Court to take a new look at design patents, even though the rules have remained largely unchanged for more than a century.

Representatives of Apple and Samsung were not immediately available for comment.

The two companies' patent disputes will continue. Separately, the same appeals court reinstated a $119.6 million award for Apple back in October. The appeals court ruled that two Apple smartphone design patents, one related to a slide-to-unlock feature, are valid and Samsung infringed a third patent related to helping smartphone users find phone numbers.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?