Samsung asks Supreme Court to throw out $399M Apple patent judgement

WASHINGTON - In its patent dispute with Apple, Samsung is asking the Supreme Court to take a digital-age look at an issue it last confronted in the horse-and-buggy era.

See Full Article

South Korea-based Samsung on Monday appealed a $399 million judgment for illegally copying patented aspects of the look of Apple's iPhone, the latest round in a long-running fight between the two tech-industry giants.

The last time the Supreme Court heard cases on patents covering the appearance of a product instead of the way it works was in the late 1800s, when the court battles concerned designs of spoon handles, carpets and saddles.

The smartphone is fast becoming as common a possession as those items were in the Victorian age. Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, the Pew Research Center said in April, up from about a third just four years earlier. Apple and Samsung are the top two manufacturers of smartphones.

None of the earlier-generation Galaxy and other Samsung phones involved in the lawsuit remains on the market, Samsung said.

The company's appeal raises two issues at the Supreme Court, arguing that the lower-court ruling upholding the judgment "overprotects and overcompensates" Apple's patents.

One question is how juries should value the common features for which Apple holds patents: the flat screen, the rectangular shape with rounded corners, a rim and a screen of icons. Samsung said the jury in this case had too much freedom to look at the overall appearance of the phones, rather than focus on those three elements.

The other issue at the Supreme Court is whether a court can order Samsung to pay Apple every penny it made from the phones at issue when the disputed features are a tiny part of the product.

The federal appeals court in Washington that hears patent cases ruled for Apple on both counts.

"Samsung is escalating this case because it believes that the way the laws were interpreted is not in line with modern times," Samsung said in a statement that accompanied its Supreme Court appeal.

Apple spokeswoman Rachel Tulley said the case is about more than patents and money. "We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy," Tulley said.

The Supreme Court could decide early next year whether to hear the case, but arguments would not take place before the fall of 2016.

The legal battles between Apple and Samsung have cooled recently, but this case could attract the justices' interest, said Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School in Camden, New Jersey, who has followed the lawsuits closely.

One study found 250,000 patents in a smartphone, Carrier said. "In a world in which there can be thousands of patents in a particular product, it does not seem appropriate to award all of the profits to patents making up only a fraction of the contributions to the product," Carrier said.

Samsung is not challenging the design patents themselves at the Supreme Court, although the Patent and Trademark Office has issued a preliminary ruling against Apple's design patent for the flat surface of its iPhone.

Samsung already has handed the $399 million over to Apple and could seek a refund if the patent decision stands or the Supreme Court rules in its favour.

Even as Apple won court judgments backing its claims that its patents were infringed, it was not able to persuade courts to order Samsung to stop selling the products.

That's one possible explanation for why the legal dispute between Apple and Samsung appears to be winding down, said Michael Risch, an expert on intellectual property at Villanova University law school.

"Or perhaps the money it won was the price it wanted to exact, or it could be that Samsung changed the look of its products enough," Risch said.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Asian stocks tumble after Italy rejects constitutional changes

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Asian shares tumbled Monday after Italian voters' rejected constitutional changes, raising questions over whether Italy will stay in the European Union and keep using the euro. KEEPING SCORE: Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 index dropped 1 per cent to 5,391.40 points and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9 per cent to 3,215.30. Source
  • Euro tumbles after Italy's PM resigns, loses referendum

    Economic CBC News
    The euro tumbled in early Asian trade on Monday after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he would resign after conceding defeat in a referendum over his plan to reform the constitution. The euro dropped 1.3 per cent to $1.0505 US, falling below its 1 1/2-year low of $1.0518 touched late last month, and testing its key support levels where the currency has managed to rebound in the past couple of years. Source
  • Company sold turf product after learning of defects: report

    Economic CTV News
    WOODBRIDGE, N.J. -- The country's leading maker of artificial sports turf sold more than 1,000 fields to towns, schools and teams nationwide after its executives knew they were falling apart faster than expected and might not live up to lofty marketing claims, according to an investigation by a news organization. Source
  • Montreal-based company sold turf product after learning of defects: report

    Economic CTV News
    WOODBRIDGE, N.J. -- The country's leading maker of artificial sports turf sold more than 1,000 fields to towns, schools and teams nationwide after its executives knew they were falling apart faster than expected and might not live up to lofty marketing claims, according to an investigation by a news organization. Source
  • U.S., China, EU, others fail to reach environmental goods deal

    Economic CTV News
    GENEVA -- Forty-six countries including the U.S., China and European Union nations failed Sunday to agree on a list of "environmental goods" like solar-powered air conditioners or LED light bulbs that could be targeted for lower tariffs. Source
  • Venezuela to issue new bills with current ones worth no more than 2 U.S. cents

    Economic CTV News
    BOGOTA -- Venezuela said it will issue higher-denominated bills as triple-digit inflation and a currency meltdown leave the country's largest note worth just around 2 U.S. cents on the black market. The central bank said in a statement Saturday that six new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 Bolivars will begin circulating on Dec. Source
  • Six things to know about the bovine TB outbreak: CFIA's chief veterinary officer

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- More than 22,000 cattle at farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan are quarantined due to bovine tuberculosis, causing hardship for ranchers and millions in compensation payments and other costs. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is testing cattle to determine the extent of the outbreak and the source of the contagious bacterial infection. Source
  • U.K.'s Boris Johnson downplays EU payment suggestions

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's foreign secretary has dismissed suggestions that London would be willing to pay into European Union coffers following an exit from the bloc, describing the idea as speculation. Boris Johnson's comments to the BBC on Sunday came after Britain's minister for leaving the European Union, David Davis, said that the country might be willing to pay in return for access to the single market. Source
  • Beyond the hippie stereotype: A closer look at the opposition to Trans Mountain

    Economic CBC News
    A conversation about tripling your money on a tech start up might seem out of place at an anti-pipeline march, but not so in Vancouver. When thousands of protestors made their way from City Hall to downtown a few weeks ago, chatter about stock options and where to go for ramen after the rally could be heard alongside the traditional indigenous drumming and chants of "Hey, hey, Trudeau, Kinder Morgan's got to go". Source
  • Using Air Miles for overseas flights? It may not be a great deal

    Economic CBC News
    You've saved your Air Miles for a well-deserved overseas adventure — but don't pack your bags just yet, as you may be in for a surprise. Seventeen million Canadians collect Air Miles reward points on everything from groceries to gas. Source