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

  • Home sales rebound in December after large drop in November: CREA

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales climbed 2.2 per cent in December compared with November as they recovered from a dip following the introduction of new mortgage rules. On a year-over-year basis, the real estate association says home sales were down five per cent last month compared to December 2015. Source
  • IMF: Canada will outpace most G-7 economies in 2017-2018

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON, Wash. - The International Monetary Fund says uncertainty surrounding the incoming Donald Trump administration in the United States is making it difficult to forecast how the global economy will perform this year. But the Washington-based IMF says it estimates the Canadian economy will grow by 1.9 per cent in 2017 and 2.0 per cent in 2018. Source
  • IMF: Canada will outpace most G7 economies in 2017-2018

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON, Wash. - The International Monetary Fund says uncertainty surrounding the incoming Donald Trump administration in the United States is making it difficult to forecast how the global economy will perform this year. But the Washington-based IMF says it estimates the Canadian economy will grow by 1.9 per cent in 2017 and 2.0 per cent in 2018. Source
  • OPEC cuts, while the U.S. turns on the oil taps

    Economic CBC News
    It's been a few weeks since members of OPEC started cutting production. Saudi Arabia said last Wednesday that its production is the lowest it's been in two years, Iraq said that it had made cuts, as did Kuwait. Source
  • Stark inequality: Oxfam says 8 men as rich as half the world

    Economic CTV News
    DAVOS, Switzerland -- The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday. Source
  • Who are the 8 richest people? All men, mostly Americans

    Economic CTV News
    DAVOS, Switzerland -- The eight individuals who own as much as half of the rest of the planet are all men, and have largely made their fortunes in technology. Most are American, with one European and one Mexican in the mix. Source
  • German ministers reject Trump remarks on car tariffs

    Economic CTV News
    BERLIN -- Senior German officials reacted with surprise and defiance Monday to comments made by President-elect Donald Trump, who said in an interview that NATO was "obsolete" and threatened Germany's automakers with hefty import taxes. Source
  • EU nations react with surprise, defiance to Trump remarks

    Economic CTV News
    BERLIN -- European Union nations reacted with surprise and defiance Monday to comments by U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, who said in an interview that he believed NATO was "obsolete" and that more member states would leave the 28-nation EU. Source
  • Former Alberta oilpatch workers hesitant to return as activity picks up

    Economic CBC News
    John Fodchuk says life is good for him and his family in Weyburn, Sask. There's no carbon tax, and there's plenty of optimism and opportunity — a sharp contrast to the Alberta he left behind. Source
  • Hope for the best, plan for the worst when budgeting for a home reno

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ali Bisram has less-than-fond memories of her basement bathroom renovation project. "It was supposed to be around $2,500 to $3,000. We just wanted to replace the toilet and the vanity and put in a smaller shower, a little corner unit," says Bisram, a 35-year-old government administrative co-ordinator in Brampton, Ont. Source