Ornamental Features, Apple and Samsung: The Reverse of the $400M Verdict

The Supreme Court has stepped into the Apple and Samsung argument by reversing a $400 million verdict.

According to Bloomberg, “The U.S. Supreme Court gave Samsung Electronics Co. its first good news in a while on Tuesday, reversing a nearly $400 million verdict against it for infringing on Apple Inc.’s iPhone patent. The holding was narrow, and the justices sent the case back to the appeals court to figure out what the correct damages should be. But the thrust of the opinion was that damages could be computed based on the profit Samsung made from specific infringing features of the phone — not based on the overall profit from all sales of infringing smartphones.

The case is the latest in a string of decisions over the past several years in which the Supreme Court has rejected rulings by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent law, among other things.”

According to William P. Smith, Counsel at Spilman Thomas & Battle who practices patent law and intellectual property law, “Design patents protect only the ornamental features of a product, which traditionally has been a very narrow scope of protection.  The lower court decision in Samsung appeared to have broadened the scope of design patent protection.  Now the Supreme Court reversal, while leaving intact the lower courts’ scope of protection, may ultimately limit the damages that may be recovered for infringement of a design patent.”

Click here to read the entire Bloomberg article.

 

 

 

Taking a Bite Out of Apple – Patent Law Update

In a Federal Circuit decision handed down Friday, the appeals court overturned a $120 million jury verdict awarded to Apple. Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 15-1171

Samsung prevailed in this, the third appeal in this litigation. Two of Apple’s patents were found to be invalid, while three others did not infringe, according to the opinion. The Court held that Apple’s patents directed to autocorrect and slide-to-unlock features were obvious in view of prior publications, and invalidated them. Two other patented features, a data structure analyzer server (i.e., the feature that recognizes telephone numbers and email addresses and creates links), and universal search, were not present in the Samsung device and thus did not infringe the claims asserted by Apple. To make matters worse (for Apple), Apple was found to infringe one of Samsung’s patents, although for the relatively paltry sum of $158,000.

Click here for a link to the Federal Circuit decision.

Click here to read the Reuters article.

If you have any questions about patent law, please feel free to contact William P. Smith, one of our intellectual property attorneys.

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By William P. Smith

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