Washington DC
10 October 2016
Reporter: Barney Dixon
Samsung v Apple: SCOTUS to hear arguments
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Samsung Electronics v Apple on 11 October, with design patents under the microscope.

The case will set the precedent on whether, where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, an award of infringer’s profits should be limited to those profits attributable to the component.

Supreme Court justices, who took up the case in March, are considering whether the Federal Circuit for the Court of Appeals should have backed the original jury in awarding damages based on Samsung’s entire profits from the sale of smartphones found to contain just three patented designs, totalling $399 million.

Michael Sandonato, partner at Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto and chair of the firm’s electronic and computer technologies practice group, said: “Central to this case is a tension between policy arguments and the statute.”

“Many argue that a rule that awards the entirety of an infringer’s profits to a design patent owner makes no sense in our world of smartphones and other complex devices, and I think that argument at some level resonated with the Federal Circuit. But the court could not get past what it found to be ‘clear statutory language’ that says that is exactly what the design patent owner gets.”

“It will be interesting to see if the Supreme Court comes out the same way, or if it approaches the problem from a different point of view.”

Johnathan Moskin, partner at Foley & Lardner, has been following the case and added: “Given Samsung’s objections that the jury instructions directed jurors to focus on the overall design of the accused product (rather than only their ornamental, non-functional, features) one might infer that the court is not inclined to dissect the Apple design into its smallest patentable features for assessing damages.”

“Hence, one might expect the Court to agree with Apple that the literal wording of Section 289 (as distinct from Section 284) requires that profits be calculated on the entire article of manufacture.”

More Patents news
The latest news from IPPro The Internet
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Court tells bee trap maker to buzz off
27 March 2017 | Alabama | Reporter: Mark Dugdale
The US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama issued a summary judgement in favour of eBay on 20 March
Google must pay $20 million for Chrome infringement
15 February 2017 | Texas | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Google must pay $20 million in damages for infringement of four patents related to anti-malware
Trading tech patents upheld under Alice
19 January 2017 | Illinois | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Trading Technologies International’s electronic trading patents have been upheld under the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v CLS Bank...
Ameranth to press on with mass infringement claims
16 January 2017 | California | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Internet solutions company Ameranth has been granted an order lifting the stay of more than 30 patent infringement cases, against defendants such as Pizza Hut, Oracle, Starbucks and Dominos...
McRO case denied en banc rehearing
06 January 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Bandai Namco Games America has been denied an en banc rehearing in its cornerstone software patent case against McRO...
Nokia and Apple resume hostilities
23 December 2016 | California | Reporter: Mark Dugdale
Nokia has lodged complaints against Apple in the Regional Courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, Germany, as well as in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas...
Forum shopping decision could reduce patent lawsuits
16 December 2016 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A US Supreme Court decision on forum shopping could lead to a reduction in patent lawsuits overall...