Full transcript of Apple v. Samsung Supreme Court hearing illustrates case complexities

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in General Discussion
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday published a transcript of the day's initial oral hearing of the high-stakes patent battle between Apple and Samsung, highlighting the complexities that face justices on how to properly adjudicate the case.









A good chunk of today's arguments centered around "article of manufacture," a key phrase in patent law that dictates how juries mete out damages in cases of infringement.



As in past lower court battles, Samsung argues damages should be assigned based on a part or portion of profits attributable to an infringing part, not profits on total smartphone sales. For example, an infringing design for rounded edges or home button should be applicable only to that specific part or parts.



Apple disagrees, saying damages should not be separated by component in the case of iPhone, as the device's design is integral to its function. District courts have seemingly agreed, though confusing jury instructions might have played a role in large award amounts. Samsung is currently on the hook for $399 million for infringing Apple patents.



Awarding damages on the whole could leave major technology companies more susceptible to patent trolls, Samsung argues.



Presenting an unbiased assessment, Department of Justice lawyer Brian Fletcher proposed a test to determine, through a fact-finder, which article of manufacture is relevant to a given case, and to derive how much of total profits are attributable to said article. Samsung lawyer Kathleen Sullivan presented a similar test to the high court. As noted by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, however, the attribution portion of the test is where problems arise.



As expected, the high court showed little interest in how design patent laws impact the Apple and Samsung case, instead focusing on the more important issue of creating and instating rules to properly adjudicate future litigation.



The Supreme Court is expected to hand in a decision by June 2017.



Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,389member
    Since the similarity in design was a way for Samsung to implicitly tell customers they're buying a product that's every bit as good as an iPhone, my opinion sides with Apple.
    lkrupprob53SpamSandwichpatchythepiratestevenozjony0watto_cobratallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Regardless the outcome of this, they should surely see this case as an example of how "broken" the US justice system is and work towards reforms. Basically as I see it, Samsung blatantly copied the original iPhone (and they admitted as much), and used that to relaunch their smartphone and tablet division and become the biggest android player by far. They played the law system with delays and appeals to the point where, so far down the line now, any decision good or bad is meaningless. The only winners, as usual, are the law firms involved.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    This is what makes the court so exciting to watch. Each side in the litigation has their own views on what is basis of the matter. The judges don't just hear the facts and make a decision. They get to ask questions and try to listen for what they feel may be at stake. Sometimes they seem to evade what most of us believe are consequential matters (such as patent law clarity, in this case). Regardless of what you feel about the outcome, jurisprudence is hard and humbling work.
    pscooter63mike1jony0
  • Reply 4 of 14
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,915member
    These transcripts show what's wrong with the legal system, at least in the US. Lots of double-talk, misdirection and everything Ms. Sullivan could muster to make it look like the iPhone was a marginal product that really isn't worth much. The justices are having a difficult time understanding how to look at the iPhone, regularly referring to the VW case. I make it even simpler. If it looks like a rose and smells like a rose, then it's a rose. The iPhone is the same as the rose. There are many variations of the rose but they all started from the same rose. Samsung needs to quit trying to get out of paying Apple and declaring that they copied the iPhone (just like Google is doing right now).
    jony0cali
  • Reply 5 of 14
    My early read on this is they'll let the lower court ruling stand and not rule in favor of any new or novel interpretations of the law.
    palominefarmboycali
  • Reply 6 of 14
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    Samsung wants no damages because when the phones are off, there is not much difference. (samsung went to great lengths to make their phone look just like an iPhone when on. which is why Samsung should lose all profits for the sales of the phones. basing the profits lost on a empty shell is  ridiculous. that is what Samsung wants. 

    when a rug is rolled up (in  effect 'off'), it looks like almost any rug... but design patents don't cover the rug when it is rolled up, they cover it when it is unrolled (in effect on)... 

    noBody would be  confusing a Samsung phone with an iPhone if the insides or display were "Beyond a reasonable doubt" different. (NOT OFF)
     But Samsung has a history of skirting all the design patents to make it just look like an iPhone but not an iPhone. people see past that and buy the Samsung phone...

    TL;DR... samsung wants damages based on the phone off.
    yet, people do not buy a phone for it to remain off.  Just like people do not buy a rug  and keep it unrolled and put it in their room... 

    SpamSandwichpatchythepiratejony0watto_cobracali
  • Reply 7 of 14
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    adm1 said:
    Regardless the outcome of this, they should surely see this case as an example of how "broken" the US justice system is and work towards reforms. Basically as I see it, Samsung blatantly copied the original iPhone (and they admitted as much), and used that to relaunch their smartphone and tablet division and become the biggest android player by far. They played the law system with delays and appeals to the point where, so far down the line now, any decision good or bad is meaningless. The only winners, as usual, are the law firms involved.
    Numbers don't lie. The SGS 2 was the phone that most resembled the iPhone design wise and it didn't do well. It really wasn't until they designed a phone differently (SGS 3), and advertised the F out of it that they really took off. One could easily argue that it was Samsung being unlike Apple that made them successful. 
    singularity
  • Reply 8 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member
    C'mon guys, I dont get why many here read details about the SCOTUS hearing but think this is about Samsung and Apple. It isn't. it's about how design patent damages should be tallied. It could just as well be Billy's Fill Dirt and Croissants vs Bobby's Biscuits. That it's Samsung & Apple means nothing at all to the issues being considered in this Supreme Court appeal. .
  • Reply 9 of 14
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    adm1 said:
    Regardless the outcome of this, they should surely see this case as an example of how "broken" the US justice system is and work towards reforms. Basically as I see it, Samsung blatantly copied the original iPhone (and they admitted as much), and used that to relaunch their smartphone and tablet division and become the biggest android player by far. They played the law system with delays and appeals to the point where, so far down the line now, any decision good or bad is meaningless. The only winners, as usual, are the law firms involved.
    Numbers don't lie. The SGS 2 was the phone that most resembled the iPhone design wise and it didn't do well. It really wasn't until they designed a phone differently (SGS 3), and advertised the F out of it that they really took off. One could easily argue that it was Samsung being unlike Apple that made them successful. 
    Every android phone is an iPhone knockoff. Samsung being the biggest thief of them all.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 10 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member
    haar said:
    Samsung wants no damages because when the phones are off, there is not much difference. (samsung went to great lengths to make their phone look just like an iPhone when on. which is why Samsung should lose all profits for the sales of the phones. basing the profits lost on a empty shell is  ridiculous. that is what Samsung wants. 

    when a rug is rolled up (in  effect 'off'), it looks like almost any rug... but design patents don't cover the rug when it is rolled up, they cover it when it is unrolled (in effect on)... 

    noBody would be  confusing a Samsung phone with an iPhone if the insides or display were "Beyond a reasonable doubt" different. (NOT OFF)
     But Samsung has a history of skirting all the design patents to make it just look like an iPhone but not an iPhone. people see past that and buy the Samsung phone...

    TL;DR... samsung wants damages based on the phone off.
    yet, people do not buy a phone for it to remain off.  Just like people do not buy a rug  and keep it unrolled and put it in their room... 

    Samsung isn't saying they don't owe damages. It's the way those damages are determined that's the issue. For those that haven't read up on wht the Supreme Court's interest is it has absolutely nothing to do with Samsung, Apple or the iPhone, they just happen to be the names involved. There's only one single issue where SCOTUS has a question to consider and the sole one granted cert by the court:

    Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?

    That's it. No disputes about whether copying happened or whether there should be penalties for doing so. That's already settled. Samsung "copied" and they owe damages for it.
    edited October 2016 singularity
  • Reply 11 of 14
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    cali said:
    adm1 said:
    Regardless the outcome of this, they should surely see this case as an example of how "broken" the US justice system is and work towards reforms. Basically as I see it, Samsung blatantly copied the original iPhone (and they admitted as much), and used that to relaunch their smartphone and tablet division and become the biggest android player by far. They played the law system with delays and appeals to the point where, so far down the line now, any decision good or bad is meaningless. The only winners, as usual, are the law firms involved.
    Numbers don't lie. The SGS 2 was the phone that most resembled the iPhone design wise and it didn't do well. It really wasn't until they designed a phone differently (SGS 3), and advertised the F out of it that they really took off. One could easily argue that it was Samsung being unlike Apple that made them successful. 
    Every android phone is an iPhone knockoff. Samsung being the biggest thief of them all.
    There's always going to be a leader, and then followers. Philips was the first to market with the plasma flat panel TV but nobody calls any of the other TV manufacturers 'copiers'. There was a shift in technology led by Apple this time, and it's no surprise that others followed suit. 

    I don't deny Samsung copied but ask most people why they chose a Samsung device over the iPhone and almost all say that they don't like Apple. 
  • Reply 12 of 14
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,145member
    gatorguy said:
    haar said:
    Samsung wants no damages because when the phones are off, there is not much difference. (samsung went to great lengths to make their phone look just like an iPhone when on. which is why Samsung should lose all profits for the sales of the phones. basing the profits lost on a empty shell is  ridiculous. that is what Samsung wants. 

    when a rug is rolled up (in  effect 'off'), it looks like almost any rug... but design patents don't cover the rug when it is rolled up, they cover it when it is unrolled (in effect on)... 

    noBody would be  confusing a Samsung phone with an iPhone if the insides or display were "Beyond a reasonable doubt" different. (NOT OFF)
     But Samsung has a history of skirting all the design patents to make it just look like an iPhone but not an iPhone. people see past that and buy the Samsung phone...

    TL;DR... samsung wants damages based on the phone off.
    yet, people do not buy a phone for it to remain off.  Just like people do not buy a rug  and keep it unrolled and put it in their room... 

    Samsung isn't saying they don't owe damages. It's the way those damages are determined that's the issue. For those that haven't read up on wht the Supreme Court's interest is it has absolutely nothing to do with Samsung, Apple or the iPhone, they just happen to be the names involved. There's only one single issue where SCOTUS has a question to consider and the sole one granted cert by the court:

    Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?

    That's it. No disputes about whether copying happened or whether there should be penalties for doing so. That's already settled. Samsung "copied" and they owe damages for it.
    Before the arguments, you specifically and the Samsung supporters in industry in general were all on about the danger of 100% of profits for design patents. Unless I missed something, that precedence still holds, it's still 100% of the profits with no apportionment, and will continue so when the ruling is announced.

    Until then, the Supreme Court must determine a methodology to define the scope of a design patent in any instance, component, feature, or finished product, and provide instruction and guidance to the Lower Courts to make determination. That was the bulk of what the arguments were about. 

    Obviously, Samsung wanted a strict interpretation based on technical specifications and Apple wanted a loose version based on marketing perceptions by consumers. The VW Beetle was discussed as an icon of car design, and how the buyer perceives external design vs functional utility, albeit the consumer is a bit more granular than that. The DOJ approach, a four part procedure, seemed to be favored by The Court and Apple, with Samsung more inclined to a two part procedure.
    edited October 2016 dasanman69
  • Reply 13 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member
    tmay said:
    gatorguy said:
    haar said:
    Samsung wants no damages because when the phones are off, there is not much difference. (samsung went to great lengths to make their phone look just like an iPhone when on. which is why Samsung should lose all profits for the sales of the phones. basing the profits lost on a empty shell is  ridiculous. that is what Samsung wants. 

    when a rug is rolled up (in  effect 'off'), it looks like almost any rug... but design patents don't cover the rug when it is rolled up, they cover it when it is unrolled (in effect on)... 

    noBody would be  confusing a Samsung phone with an iPhone if the insides or display were "Beyond a reasonable doubt" different. (NOT OFF)
     But Samsung has a history of skirting all the design patents to make it just look like an iPhone but not an iPhone. people see past that and buy the Samsung phone...

    TL;DR... samsung wants damages based on the phone off.
    yet, people do not buy a phone for it to remain off.  Just like people do not buy a rug  and keep it unrolled and put it in their room... 

    Samsung isn't saying they don't owe damages. It's the way those damages are determined that's the issue. For those that haven't read up on wht the Supreme Court's interest is it has absolutely nothing to do with Samsung, Apple or the iPhone, they just happen to be the names involved. There's only one single issue where SCOTUS has a question to consider and the sole one granted cert by the court:

    Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?

    That's it. No disputes about whether copying happened or whether there should be penalties for doing so. That's already settled. Samsung "copied" and they owe damages for it.
    Before the arguments, you specifically and the Samsung supporters in industry in general were all on about the danger of 100% of profits for design patents. Unless I missed something, that precedence still holds, it's still 100% of the profits with no apportionment, and will continue so when the ruling is announced.
    Yes you're missing something. 
    http://patentlyo.com/patent/2016/10/samsung-inside-courtroom.html

    edited October 2016
  • Reply 14 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,284member
    Somehow I missed this change-of-position by Apple in the SCOTUS hearing. Prior to the Supreme Court accepting the case for review Apple was insisting that infringement of its design patents obligated the court to award all profits from those offending Samsung devices to them. Even in its initial response they kept the same line of argument. 

    But now in the hearing a few days ago Apple seems to have changed their claims, admitting that design patent damages might be instead be tallied on a specific component using that design rather than the entire device. So now they've essentially come around to agree with Samsung, meaning they understand that damages may have been incorrectly determined? Read pages 2 and 3 of the SCOTUS brief.
    http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/15-777-petitioner-merits-reply.pdf
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