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

  • Calgary and Saint John mayors urge NEB to reverse Energy East pipeline ruling

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Mayors from both ends of the proposed Energy East pipeline are calling for the National Energy Board to reverse its requirement that upstream and downstream emissions be included in its review of the $15.7-billion conduit. Source
  • Lawsuit tossed against Little Caesars over non-halal pepperoni

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- A judge has rejected a lawsuit against a pizza franchise, alleging it sold pork as "halal pepperoni" at one of its locations in a Detroit suburb. The Detroit Free Press reports that on Thursday the Wayne County judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by Dearborn resident Mohamad Bazzi against Little Caesars Pizza. Source
  • Walmart testing service that delivers right into customers' fridges

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Would you be OK with letting a stranger into your house for the sake of convenience? Walmart is testing the idea with a new service that lets a delivery person walk into your home when you're not there to drop off packages or put groceries in the fridge. Source
  • Quebec renews Uber's permit for another year with tighter rules

    Economic CTV News
    Quebec's transportation minister is renewing a deal allowing ride-hailing company Uber to operate for another year in the province. Laurent Lessard says the deal extension tightens the rules under which the San Francisco-based company will be permitted to continue offering its services to Quebecers. Source
  • Canadian firm applies to build $10-billion Jordan Cove LNG project in Oregon

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- The Canadian company whose proposal to build an LNG export terminal in Oregon was derailed by U.S. regulators last year has resubmitted its application for a bigger, more expensive project. Calgary-based Veresen Inc. Source
  • OPEC says winning battle to end oil glut

    Economic CBC News
    OPEC and other oil producers are clearing a glut that has weighed on crude prices for three years and may wait until January before deciding whether to extend their output curbs beyond the first quarter of 2018, ministers said on Friday. Source
  • Mastermind Toys ramps up expansion even as Toys "R" Us flounders

    Economic CBC News
    Jon Levy's favourite playthings as a Toronto child growing up in the 1960s and 1970s included Lego blocks and fort-building kits — classics that still fly off the shelves of his Mastermind Toy stores today. "My true innovation in this business is being able to get inside my inner kid and determine whether it is something truly fun to play with," said Levy, the chain's co-founder, CEO and chief toy merchant. Source
  • Ontario signs formal agreement to join Quebec-California carbon market in 2018

    Economic CTV News
    QUEBEC -- Ontario has formally signed an agreement to join Quebec and California's cap-and-trade system on Jan. 1, 2018. The province has been running its own system this year aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions, with three sell-out auctions in a row. Source
  • Angry French famer block Champs-Elysees in pesticide protest

    Economic CTV News
    PARIS -- Angry French farmers are blocking Paris' famed Champs-Elysees in a protest against the government's agricultural policy. Sections of the normally pristine avenue were smothered in straw as about a hundred demonstrators brandished placards such as "Macron is killing farmers" and stopped morning traffic from passing Friday along the busy artery. Source
  • Angry French farmers block Champs-Elysees in pesticide protest

    Economic CTV News
    PARIS -- Angry French farmers are blocking Paris' famed Champs-Elysees in a protest against the government's agricultural policy. Sections of the normally pristine avenue were smothered in straw as about a hundred demonstrators brandished placards such as "Macron is killing farmers" and stopped morning traffic from passing Friday along the busy artery. Source