Samsung 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 â€“ rules that haven’t been touched in 120 years.
The appealÂ 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 coverÂ 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it made that are covered by the suit, something the company says is not only unfair, but based on case law that’s out of date.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.
Specifically, Samsung is asking the Supreme Court to provide rulings on two questions:
- WhereÂ aÂ designÂ patentÂ includes features that don’t contribute to the ornamental design, should a courtÂ limit the extent of the patent to just the ornamental features?
- WhereÂ aÂ design patentÂ applies to one componentÂ 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-patentÂ holders to obtain unjustified windfalls far exceedingÂ 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.