Apple & Samsung to bring legal battle to US Supreme Court on Tuesday

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in iPhone
In its first case over design patents in some 120 years, the U.S. Supreme Court will tackle the outcome of the biggest Apple v. Samsung lawsuit on Tuesday, as Samsung looks to reduce the scope of damages owed.









Samsung will argue that it shouldn't have had to pay $399 million in damages ordered by lower courts, Bloomberg noted on Monday. The company has used the analogy of a cupholder in a car, suggesting that it wouldn't be fair to award the entire profits from a vehicle for something that makes just a partial contribution.



While Apple has acknowledged that in some cases a patent holder should only be able to collect profits linked to a specific component, it has also insisted that the patents in its case against Samsung were more equivalent to the design of an entire car, and that Samsung earlier failed to demonstrate that the patents applied to just parts of 11 infringing phones -- all of which are no longer on sale.



The Supreme Court will have three basic options: upholding the damages, invalidating them, or ordering a retrial to decide the exact amount.



Samsung has already paid Apple the $399 million, along with a further $150 million for violating a "pinch-to-zoom" patent. Combined, though, both sums are already far lower than the more than $1 billion a jury initially leveled against Samsung. That figure was reduced severely in later legal proceedings.



The outcome of the Supreme Court fight could impact Apple's attempt to collect another $180 million, and possibly a recent U.S. federal appeals court ruling, which reinstated $119.6 million in damages for Samsung's infringement of a "slide-to-unlock" patent.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,405member
    I understand Apple's position in this...  The careful and expensive user interface design that Jobs put into his products is worth something.  Maybe a LOT.

    But, I am also conflicted about patenting functional aspects of anything.    It is like an incandescent light bulb manufacturer saying nobody else can produce a product that produces light (even it is uses a different technology like LED or fluorescence).

    There is no easy or obvious answers to these questions.  
    nolamacguylikethesky
  • Reply 2 of 19
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,932member
    sog35 said:
    The power that Samsung has in the US government is shocking.

    Its ridiculous that the Supreme Court is willing to hear this case.

    The amount of bribe money Samsung pays US officials must be shocking
    Do you have real facts to backup Bribery? Are you just going to be like a fandroid? I can't stand Samesung, but bribes, really? How about it's just a messed up legal system that we have these days.
    cwingravsingularitynolamacguygatorguy
  • Reply 3 of 19
    With no Scalia they'll probably remain neutral and kick it down to a lower court.
    edited October 2016 tmaylongpathbuzdots
  • Reply 4 of 19
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    samscum  is saying the iPhone is a cupholder? What a load of scumbags.


    I don't think Apple deserves a part of their profits I think they deserve 100% of their profits. Samscums intention was to copy Apple 100% as shown in their 132 page document they wrote on how to copy Apple pixel by pixel.
    edited October 2016 rob53longpathbadmonkwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,949member
    jbdragon said:
    sog35 said:
    The power that Samsung has in the US government is shocking.

    Its ridiculous that the Supreme Court is willing to hear this case.

    The amount of bribe money Samsung pays US officials must be shocking
    Do you have real facts to backup Bribery? Are you just going to be like a fandroid? I can't stand Samesung, but bribes, really? How about it's just a messed up legal system that we have these days.
    I wouldn't put it past Samsung. Check out this website, http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0512/the-biggest-bribe-cases-in-business-history.aspx, discussing the biggest bribe cases in business history. 

    --
    The Bottom Line
    As the Department of Justice continues to investigate the business practices of some of the largest companies in the world, it is likely that more evidence of bribery and corruption will be found. The penalties upon conviction, however, should make companies think twice before engaging in bribery and fraud.

    Here's another article: http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0912/the-differences-between-bribery-and-lobbying.aspx

    --
    Critics of lobbying suggest that it's bribery in a suit. A bribe giver usually gives an offer of money "under the table" in order to subvert standard processes. This could be paying a tax officer to clear reports with under-reported revenue or sending goods without an invoice. Walmart has been accused of bribing government officials in Mexico to obtain new permits faster in order to open stores sooner. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    "The company has used the analogy of a cupholder in a car" Except to make that analogy relevant in this case, Samsung copied the entire car design for both hardware and software!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    AAPL is up 2% today.  I think Wall Street is happy for any sort of resolution to this long-running battle... just to eliminate future uncertainty.
  • Reply 8 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    I wish more members here would read up on what the case is actually about. It's not simply "Samscum doesn't want to pay". The Supreme Court of the United States would never agree to hear a case where that was the issue. 
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 9 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    sog35 said:
    AAPL is up 2% today.  I think Wall Street is happy for any sort of resolution to this long-running battle... just to eliminate future uncertainty.
    Apple is up because Samsung its chief Rival has an explosive problem

    Nothing to do with this lawsuit
    Is that why Alphabet is up too?
  • Reply 10 of 19
    sog35 said:
    AAPL is up 2% today.  I think Wall Street is happy for any sort of resolution to this long-running battle... just to eliminate future uncertainty.
    Apple is up because Samsung its chief Rival has an explosive problem

    Nothing to do with this lawsuit
    Ah... yes, you're right.  Samsung stopped production of the faulty product.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 11 of 19
    As this is an "apportionment" issue, Apple should be careful of what it wishes for.

    E.g. patent trolls like VirnetX already have hundreds of millions of damage awards
    against Apple (under appeal) for demanding X% of Apple's profits for a single feature,
    among the thousands of features in a cellphone.  Both Apple and VirnetX have
    had underlying patents invalidated by USPTO with damages non-intuitively
    surviving on technicalities having to do with differing standards of review in federal court.

    Perhaps design patents are different because they are harder to apportion,
    but I hope that any favorable ruling for Apple doesn't come back to bite.

    In this case, patent scholar Mark Lemley (who has filed a friends-of-the-court brief
    to the Supremes for this matter) also has written seminal articles about "patent holdup", "royalty stacking"

         http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/shapiro/stacking.pdf

    and on whether patent validity decisions should even be given to juries at all:

         http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/Lemley_Book.pdf
    edited October 2016 gatorguy
  • Reply 12 of 19
    gatorguy said:
    sog35 said:
    AAPL is up 2% today.  I think Wall Street is happy for any sort of resolution to this long-running battle... just to eliminate future uncertainty.
    Apple is up because Samsung its chief Rival has an explosive problem

    Nothing to do with this lawsuit
    Is that why Alphabet is up too?
    I've noticed that Wall Street tends to treat entire sectors as if the individual company was unimportant. Sometimes "tech" is up or down, regardless of what's happening in the real world.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 13 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    loquitur said:
    As this is an "apportionment" issue, Apple should be careful of what it wishes for.

    E.g. patent trolls like VirnetX already have hundreds of millions of damage awards
    against Apple (under appeal) for demanding X% of Apple's profits for a single feature,
    among the thousands of features in a cellphone.  Both Apple and VirnetX have
    had underlying patents invalidated by USPTO with damages non-intuitively
    surviving on technicalities having to do with differing standards of review in federal court.

    Perhaps design patents are different because they are harder to apportion,
    but I hope that any favorable ruling for Apple doesn't come back to bite.

    In this case, patent scholar Mark Lemley (who has filed a friends-of-the-court brief
    to the Supremes for this matter) also has written seminal articles about "patent holdup", "royalty stacking"

         http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/shapiro/stacking.pdf

    and on whether patent validity decisions should even be given to juries at all:

         http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/Lemley_Book.pdf
    And you sir obviously did spend some time discovering what the issues were. Kudos to you!
    singularity
  • Reply 14 of 19
    bwikbwik Posts: 555member
    Pathetic.  This isn't important enough to go to the Supreme Court.

    This is symbolic of our pay-to-play justice system.  The Court should fine Apple and Samsung a minimum of 1 billion dollars each for wasting the Court's time.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    bwik said:
    Pathetic.  This isn't important enough to go to the Supreme Court.

    This is symbolic of our pay-to-play justice system.  The Court should fine Apple and Samsung a minimum of 1 billion dollars each for wasting the Court's time.
    Then I would assume you don't have a grasp of the issues. SCOTUS is asked to consider thousands of cases a year but might accept only a hundred or so. This is one of those that the Supreme Court believes is important, and my guess is they'll come down on the side of changing the damages basis for design patent infringement from all to apportioned as it is with other types of patent infringement.

    For those who wonder why SCOTUS would accept this case and what the questions of law are the BBC has a wonderfully written article.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37614014
  • Reply 16 of 19
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,339member
    gatorguy said:
    bwik said:
    Pathetic.  This isn't important enough to go to the Supreme Court.

    This is symbolic of our pay-to-play justice system.  The Court should fine Apple and Samsung a minimum of 1 billion dollars each for wasting the Court's time.
    Then I would assume you don't have a grasp of the issues. SCOTUS is asked to consider thousands of cases a year but might accept only a hundred or so. This is one of those that the Supreme Court believes is important, and my guess is they'll come down on the side of changing the damages basis for design patent infringement from all to apportioned as it is with other types of patent infringement.

    For those who wonder why SCOTUS would accept this case and what the questions of law are the BBC has a wonderfully written article.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37614014
    From the link (and its easy to digest!);
     
    "The question the judges are essentially asking is: why do people buy a certain phone? Is it because of how it looks, or how it functions?

    Samsung says it's mostly the latter, and therefore the damages should be a lot lower as there's an awful lot more work that goes into a phone beyond its aesthetics.

    Apple takes the opposite view - it's the iconic design of the iPhone that had if flying off the shelves, it argues, and so if Samsung stole that design then that profit money should surely be Apple's. "

    Samsung wanted to jumpstart itself into this new market after the disruption of the iPhone by copying the look of the iPhone for marketing, not technical reasons. The fact that Samsung did not have the years of either industrial design experience or deep interface and OS experience that Apple had, makes this, to me, an open and shut case of copying, acknowledged by pretty much everyone. 

    By all measures, it is the disruption that the iPhone design brought to the market that makes this case unique. At the same time, that dynamic has passed, and while I would like Samsung to have to pay all it's profits for blatant copying early on, it makes no sense to set a precedence based on the limited case of a disruptive product.

    edited October 2016 jony0
  • Reply 17 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    bwik said:
    Pathetic.  This isn't important enough to go to the Supreme Court.

    This is symbolic of our pay-to-play justice system.  The Court should fine Apple and Samsung a minimum of 1 billion dollars each for wasting the Court's time.
    Then I would assume you don't have a grasp of the issues. SCOTUS is asked to consider thousands of cases a year but might accept only a hundred or so. This is one of those that the Supreme Court believes is important, and my guess is they'll come down on the side of changing the damages basis for design patent infringement from all to apportioned as it is with other types of patent infringement.

    For those who wonder why SCOTUS would accept this case and what the questions of law are the BBC has a wonderfully written article.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-37614014
    From the link (and its easy to digest!);
     
    "The question the judges are essentially asking is: why do people buy a certain phone? Is it because of how it looks, or how it functions?

    Samsung says it's mostly the latter, and therefore the damages should be a lot lower as there's an awful lot more work that goes into a phone beyond its aesthetics.

    Apple takes the opposite view - it's the iconic design of the iPhone that had if flying off the shelves, it argues, and so if Samsung stole that design then that profit money should surely be Apple's. "

    Samsung wanted to jumpstart itself into this new market after the disruption of the iPhone by copying the look of the iPhone for marketing, not technical reasons. The fact that Samsung did not have the years of either industrial design experience or deep interface and OS experience that Apple had, makes this, to me, an open and shut case of copying, acknowledged by pretty much everyone. 

    By all measures, it is the disruption that the iPhone design brought to the market that makes this case unique. At the same time, that dynamic has passed, and while I would like Samsung to have to pay all it's profits for blatant copying early on, it makes no sense to set a precedence based on the limited case of a disruptive product.

    There's zero argument about whether Samsung copied some features. They did so that part of your post is a settled issue. The part that ISN'T settled is whether the damages basis should stand, that design should be valued over function as it's interpreted now. FWIW I personally don't agree that design patents should inherently be more valuable than utility patents. You may well feel differently.

     So as for your comments on "copying" that's not an issue that SCOTUS is considering and whether Samsung did or did not (they did) has nothing to do with the arguments being made in front of  the Justices today. Like you I think many other commenters in this thread are erroneously assuming this is about copying the iPhone. It is not. 
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 18 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    Here's the latest comments from the Justices as they consider arguments from the two sides today:

    "The Supreme Court is raising serious doubts about a $399 million judgment against smartphone maker Samsung for illegally copying parts of the patented design of Apple's iPhone.

    Justices hearing arguments Tuesday in the long-running dispute seemed troubled that Samsung was ordered to pay all the profits it earned from 11 phone models even though the features at issue are just a tiny part of the devices.

    But some justices struggled over how a jury should be instructed if the case is sent back to a lower court.

    "If I were a juror, I wouldn't know what to do," said Justice Anthony Kennedy.

    Justice Stephen Breyer appeared to embrace a test proposed by Facebook, Google and other internet companies that would outline new limits on such damage awards. Other justices seemed to favor a different test proposed by the Obama administration.

    "Why can't we just ask the lower courts to listen to your arguments and work it out," Breyer asked at one point.

    The outcome could have ripple effects across the high-tech industry as the court balances the need to encourage innovation against a desire to protect lucrative design patents. It marks the first time in more than 120 years that the high court has taken up a patent dispute over a product's design."


    edited October 2016
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