Google, Facebook, others push for rehearing over damages in Apple v. Samsung patent case

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
Google, Facebook, eBay, H-P and other Silicon Valley players, along with various interest groups, are asking the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals to rehear a decision that denied Samsung's plea for damage limitations in an ongoing patent lawsuit involving Apple.




In a "friend of the court" brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on July 1, Dell, eBay, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Limelight Networks, Newegg, and SAS Institute spoke out against the panel's decision to uphold a California jury's damages award, saying it could stifle innovation in the tech sector. The amicus brief was uncovered by InsideSources on Monday.

Samsung, which was found guilty of infringing upon three Apple design patents, was ordered by the Apple v. Samsung jury to pay damages based on the entirety of its smartphone profits. In its appeal, the Korean company argued damages should be limited to profits gained from infringing features.

Instead, as pointed out by the tech group, the panel of CAFC judges cited a relevant statute that "explicitly authorizes the award of total profit from the article of manufacture bearing the patented design." In its decision, the appellate court noted that smartphones are viewed as a single "article of manufacture" since Samsung does not sell internal phone components separately from their external chassis.

"If allowed to stand, that decision will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies, including amici, who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components," the party said.

Basically, the companies argue that a refusal to limit damages to infringing features could have huge impact in an era when consumer products incorporate many highly sophisticated components within a single device. That Samsung can be successfully sued over singular design features and forced to pay damages based on overall device sales rather than a portion of profits sets a dangerous precedent, the group argues.

The filing supports Samsung's request for an en banc, or full 12-judge panel, review of a CAFC decision that found the Apple v. Samsung jury correctly arrived at damages worth $399 million. Samsung was initially on the hook for $930 million, but the same federal court in May found the company violated Apple's design patents, but not trade dress, resulting in a damages reduction to $548 million.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,417member

    That's funny...you'd think protecting patent integrity would encourage and promote innovation, not stifle it.

    Maybe they meant to say "stifle our ability to copy what we can't create for ourselves"...?

    Must've been a misquote.

  • Reply 2 of 81
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,407member
    Not exactly the A-list of innovators in the past decade (or more).
  • Reply 3 of 81
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,718member
    Google: we like de facto patents for free please.
  • Reply 4 of 81
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,187member
    We wouldn't want to stifle HP's innovative spirit now, would we.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    grbladegrblade Posts: 86member
    So being punished for copying would be stifling to innovation. Right.
  • Reply 6 of 81
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I'm going to take a stand on this, one way or the other, with understanding the details!
  • Reply 7 of 81
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,409member
    In a "friend of the court" ... shouldn't that be In a "friend of the Scamsung" ?
  • Reply 8 of 81
    anomeanome Posts: 1,303member
    Lot of software companies in that brief. Clearly they feel it has implications beyond the manufacture of phones.

    And Newegg...not clear what their interest is.
  • Reply 9 of 81
    revenantrevenant Posts: 537member

    i am beginning to think that the U.S. does not actually need a patent system, unless, of course it is really just a catalogue of innovations other companies need so they can put into their own products.

  • Reply 10 of 81
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,718member
    Don't want to pay the damages, don't steal. It's simple: Damages for theft >> license agreements. If not, why would anyone want to pay licensing fees when they could steal and not pay a dime for years?
  • Reply 11 of 81
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post



    Not exactly the A-list of innovators in the past decade (or more).



    C- students petitioning for a grading curve. lol

  • Reply 12 of 81
    Seems hypocritical on their part given that some companies (not necessarily named) have tried to leverage the fee for FRAND patents against the entire sales price instead of the clearly differentiated component for which there is a clearly associated cost.
  • Reply 13 of 81
    tooltalktooltalk Posts: 766member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by boredumb View Post

     

    That's funny...you'd think protecting patent integrity would encourage and promote innovation, not stifle it.

    Maybe they meant to say "stifle our ability to copy what we can't create for ourselves"...?

    Must've been a misquote.


     

    @boredumb : no amici is advocating for less patent protection. All they are saying here is that damage compensation should be proportional to infringed patents' importance and contribution to sales and profit, not their "entire profit" based on an esoteric legal statute designed for unitary products such as carpet, desk, or chair.

     

    This is not only hypocritical for Apple to demand Samsung's "entire profit" for three infringements while claiming that Ericsson's asking royalty (FRAND and NON-FRAND patents) is unfair on another on-going contradict renewal dispute.  But also it's going to hurt Apple more than anyone else in the long run.  Of course, Apple obviously knows it too -- and this lawsuit is really more of a kabuki theatre than anything else at this point.  After all, $580M from Samsung is a paltry sum compared what Apple might have to pay out in future infringement cases if such absurd legal theory is upheld by the higher courts. 

  • Reply 14 of 81
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,408member
    If the law "explicitly authorizes the award of total profit from the article of manufacture bearing the patented design," following the statue does not "set a dangerous precedent."

    In 1990 Polaroid prevailed in its 14 year lawsuit against Kodak for ripping off its instant photography patents, and was awarded $925 million.

    The value that Samsung got for infringing Apple's IP was far higher in a more valuable market. There is no "dangerous precedent" set by forcing Samsung to pay a small portion of its profits.
  • Reply 15 of 81

    Perhaps they should be added as conspirators and be forced to pay damages. They all profited from Anderoid as well.

  • Reply 16 of 81
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

     

     

    @boredumb : no amici is advocating for less patent protection. All they are saying here is that damage compensation should be proportional to infringed patents' importance and contribution to sales and profit, not their "entire profit" based on an esoteric legal statute designed for unitary products such as carpet, desk, or chair.


    What a crock!! So, these standards-abusing leeches should get a portion of the entire retail price of the iPhone in return for a thousandth part of a LTE standard, but Apple's claim should be limited to a fraction of the thief's profits!! What nonsense! 

     

    There would be no Samsung smartphone at all without the iPhone. And, since Samsung made all their profits by stealing from Apple, it is only fair that they be penalized the entire amount. 

     

    BTW, the law is set up this way to specifically discourage theft, and penalize the guilty. The fear of losing all their profits is the only thing that will keep companies like Samsung honest. Samsung is like a mugger saying that he should not be sent to prison since he returned the victim's wallet after being arrested. 

  • Reply 17 of 81
    We know the "stifles innovation" rhetoric used by copyists. That's to be expected. What I want to know is: are these "friends of the court (i.e. friends of Samsung)" actually arguing for a limit on the [I]punitive cost[/I] of (willfully) violating design patents? Samsung got ahead by copying Apple, and that kind of mindshare gain should factor in to damages (my opinion), even if it's difficult to calculate a dollar amount on. In other words, I argue that treating the entire Samsung smartphone brand as "an article of manufacture" is correct because the [I]entire brand[/I] benefitted from copycat features on their flagship models (halo effect). My two cents.
  • Reply 18 of 81
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,490member
    Samsung should shut their company down and give the money back to the shareholders. ????
  • Reply 19 of 81
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    Wow.

    Shameful.

    Each of these companies should be assigned michael Bromwich to eat much of their cash and live in their offices to "monitor" their anti-business integrity collusion here.
  • Reply 20 of 81
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,516member

    By copying design and features, Samsung suggesting its smartphones were everything Apple's were means damages should be a function of the total profit.

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