The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Friday 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.
The case goes back five years, when Apple first filed a series of patent lawsuits against Samsung, alleging infringement of several Apple’s iPhone design patents.
In February, a panel of judges at the appeals court ruled against Apple, saying the slide-to-unlock patent and an Apple spell correction patent were invalid. The panel ruled that the third telephone number pattern analysis patent wasn’t infringed.
But a full panel of judges overturned that decision. In the slide-to-unlock patent, Samsung “failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence” that Apple’s claim related to an obvious invention that would not qualify for a patent, wrote Judge Kimberly Moore, for the eight to three court majority.
The patent lawsuits between the two companies have taken a number of twists and turns. In 2012, a US district court ruled that Samsung owed Apple more than US$1 billion in damages for infringement of design patents. The appeals court later cut the amount.
Last December, Samsung agreed to pay Apple US$548 million under some conditions.
Neither company responded to a request for comments on the latest court ruling.