Samsung makes last-chance appeal to Supreme Court on Apple verdict

Martyn Williams
15 December, 2015
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Patent-Apple-US-court-macworld-australiaSamsung is attempting to take its years-old patent fight with Apple to the US Supreme Court. On Monday, it filed an appeal to the court asking it to take a look at the rules regarding design patents ‚Äď rules that haven’t been touched in 120 years.

The appeal comes on the same day Samsung is due to pay Apple US$548 million in damages in relation to multiple patent claims and is something of a last-ditch effort by the company to reduce the overall total due.

It relates to an award of US$399 million in damages for infringement of three design patents, which cover¬†the face and rounded bezel design of the iPhone and the grid of 16 icons on the phone’s home screen.

The damages award covered Samsung’s entire profit from the phones it made that are covered by the suit, something the company says is not only unfair, but based on case law that’s out of date.

“Samsung is escalating this case because it believes that the way the laws were interpreted is not in line with modern times,” the company said in a statement.

Lawyers arrive for Apple Samsung case

Lawyers arrive at the San Jose federal court house with boxes of documents ahead of opening statements in the Apple v Samsung case on 1 April 2014.

Specifically, Samsung is asking the Supreme Court to provide rulings on two questions:

  • Where¬†a¬†design¬†patent¬†includes features that don’t contribute to the ornamental design, should a court¬†limit the extent of the patent to just the ornamental features?
  • Where¬†a¬†design patent¬†applies to one component¬†of a product, should the damages be limited to profits attributable just to that component?

Interpretation of the law as it was done in the case, Samsung argues, provides “a vehicle for design-patent¬†holders to obtain unjustified windfalls far exceeding¬†the conceivable value of any inventive contribution”.

To win its argument, Samsung first has to persuade the Supreme Court to even hear the case. The court receives around 10,000 such appeals annually and has the time and energy to hear about 75 cases. And then, Samsung would have to successfully argue the case outlined in its appeal. Both are far from certain.

Monday’s appeal isn’t a surprise.¬†Samsung said earlier this year¬†that it planned to attempt to take its fight to the highest court in the US.¬†Monday was the last day¬†it could file its appeal.

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