Justices seem to question an award should be based on infringing Samsung apparatus on the entire gains.
Credit: US Supreme Court
Questioning attorneys for both businesses, the justices referred to a law that instructs courts to give patent damages based on the entire gain from the infringing apparatus, instead of from merely the infringing pieces of the apparatus.
The overall-gain rule for design patents may function for products that are basic, but not for sophisticated ones like smartphones, Justice Stephen Breyer said. “For background, you get the entire thing,” he said, based on Fortune.com. “A Rolls Royce with the matter on the hood? No, no, no you don’t get gains on the entire auto.”
The case comes from a long-running patent dispute between Samsung and Apple.
Apple was initially given $ 930 million by the jury. An appeals court cut the damages related to $ 399 million to the design patents but stood by the all-gains rule. Samsung, along with several other technology groups, has asserted that innovation will be inhibited by tremendous infringement awards for little layout components of a product.
Justices seemed to challenge the first number of damages, said manager of the Patent Reform Project, Charles Duan
“The justices mainly appeared to concur that awarding damages for a whole complicated merchandise, like a smartphone, is improper for a design patent that covers just a little part of that merchandise.”
“The justices appeared to be comfortable with this position also, because they focused on the right standards to use in implementing the legislative act.”
Apple defended the jury award and its patents. “We firmly believe that powerful design patent protection spurs creativity and innovation. And that’s why we’ve defended ourselves against those who steal our thoughts.”
Samsung said the present law does not make sense. “We’re optimistic the Supreme Court will give a practical and rational reading to the design patent statute. That would be a triumph for companies and consumers alike.”
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