The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Samsung Electronics v. Apple, Incorporated today. The case is the long-running patent dispute between the companies involving Samsung’s alleged infringement of Apple’s design patents covering certain aspects of the iPhone. The case may be best known for the “rounded corners” design patent, though two other design patents are also involved. After the original trial, a California jury awarded Apple over $1 billion in damages (Apple originally requested $2.5 billion in damages). That award was subsequently reduced but later increased after a second lawsuit between Apple and Samsung.
Calculation of damages is the main issue between the companies. 35 U.S.C. 289 states that “[w]hoever during the term of a patent for a design, without license of the owner, (1) applies the patented design, or any colorable imitation thereof, to any article of manufacture for the purpose of sale, or (2) sells or exposes for sale any article of manufacture to which such design or colorable imitation has been applied shall be liable to the owner to the extent of his total profit, but not less than $250. . .” Samsung is arguing that because smartphones and tablets contain numerous components, many of which are covered by various patents, they should not be liable to Apple for the entire profit made by Samsung from the sale of each infringing device.
The transcript of the oral argument has been released and is available here. It appears that the justices were not impressed with Samsung’s argument. We will be posting a more detailed analysis of the oral argument in an upcoming post.
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