Samsung scores Supreme Court victory in patent suit against Apple; case is remanded to lower court

Samsung scores Supreme Court victory in patent suit against Apple; case is remanded to lower court
A unanimous decision by the Supreme Court was announced on Tuesday in favor of Samsung in its long running patent battle with Apple. The Court ruled 8-0 to overturn an Appeals Court ruling that ordered Samsung to pay its rival $399 million. The case was remanded back to lower court. The key ruling made by the Court holds that a company does not have to turn over all of the profits it made selling a product with stolen designs, if the design patent covers just components and not the design of the whole product. 

Back in August 2012, after Samsung and Apple faced each other in a highly publicized trial, the jury awarded Apple $930 million. A decision by The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, ruled that the looks of the iPhone could not be protected by a trademark. That took Samsung's obligation to Apple down to $548 million, which it paid to Apple last December. Samsung said that it should not have to pay $399 million of that amount, which covered the use of the iPhone's icon grid, rounded corners and bezels.

For its part, Apple said that the success of the iPhone was due to innovative designs that were copied by others. Samsung, says Apple, went out of its way to deliberately copy the style of the phone for its Galaxy series. Samsung's argument, which was accepted by the Supreme Court, was that it should not have to give up all of its profits for a device with thousands of patented parts and designs of which Apple's patents covered just a small amount.

The entire battle came down to the definition of the term "article of manufacture" in U.S. patent law. Apple, Samsung and the Court all concluded that it could mean a single component rather than a finished, completed product. How the term is read determines whether Samsung should return to Apple all of its profits for smartphones that copied Apple's design patents, or whether Samsung is liable for the use of designs that represent a small amount of the components used on such phones. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the unanimous Court that "article of manufacture is broad enough to encompass both a product sold to a consumer as well as a component of that product."

Now it is back to lower court where Samsung's lawyers, armed with this new definition, will attempt to whittle down the damages amount. Anything less than $548 million means that Samsung will be receiving a refund from Apple.

source: Reuters

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96 Comments

1. XDAdam

Posts: 276; Member since: Feb 03, 2016

I bet they have already spent more money on time and lawyer fees alone.

13. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

No, not really. Half a billion dollars is bit much for lawyer fees. That would amount to about $10 000 per hour for 6 years or something. Plus it also protects Samsung and the rest of the tech industry from future trolls.

48. ph00ny

Posts: 2026; Member since: May 26, 2011

Half a bil is 1/4 of annual revenue of some of the top law firms

87. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

I am glad someone stand up against that greedy bastard Apple.

16. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Which they can sue and get much of it back. But Samsung isn't lie that. They will simply take this win, back tot he lower court which will and can't go above the Supreme Court and they could sue for any damages and loses to even fight the case to begin with. But because of their relationship with Apple, they will likely just take the refund and be happy.

44. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"But because of their relationship with Apple, they will likely just take the refund and be happy." And why would Samsung do that? Why would Samsung just take the refund and be happy because of their relationship with Apple? Did Apple care for it's relationship with Samsung when they were busy sueing Samsung for dumb and invalid patents? Why should Samsung now become Mr. nice guy to Apple because of their business relationship? As you said, Samsung could sue additionally for damages and spendings in this court battle all over the years. Samsung should do just that, in order to teach Apple a lesson and to make the fruit company think twice before sueing companies anyhow... and not just "take the refund and be happy", FFS!!

50. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Because Samsung is the better company. See Samsung isn't like a bully. They kick you while you are down already. That is what a panzie does (and panzie isnt the word I want to use). Samsung by law has a right to recoup any loses due to Apple's frivilous lawsuit. Which they are 100% entitled too by law. But just because they can, oesn't mean they will. The lawsuit has fallen from nearly $1B down to now less than $500M and now its goign to fall to less than $200M at least. The Samsung doesn't have to go after Apple ofr the money is because they can get it in other ways. For example. When Apple comes and negotiates a deal for parts, Samsung can offer them at a higher price as Apple would and just say, we need this extra cost to pay for all the legal fees we had to pay to fight you and its hurt our money flow and because of that, it has resulted in higher prices. Either Apple has to pay it and have the best, or they can go by some LG knockoff and risk quality in their already problematic products. Samsung doesn't have to be malicious. Theer are ways to get the money back without suing for it. The fact is, Samsung could simply sue Apple for that whole $500M that way Apple wont get a dime. But I saw let Apple have the $200M and move on and whatever money you spent in legal fees, attach a 20% markup on your component prices. Because here is what happens when you actually hold all the aces. Apple sure can get CPU's made by someone else. They can certainly buy displays from someone else. So why si it, Apple who claimed they was trying to break away from Samsung, keep going back? Because Samsung is the best. They have the best quality and the facts have proven that. Because as Bill Gates said, its not about sellign product; its about maing peopel need you. And when you make peopel need you, you can charge whatever you want. Samsung can charge what they want. Apple either has to pay it, or risk using someone else. if Apple waits to long, then they wont be able to get components on time which will delay products, which means they lose money. Apple has no real alternative to using Samsung yet and Samsung knows this. So Samsung can certainly charge Apple more money and get any money they use to fight Apple back. Because you have to consider this - If Smasung tells the court...here is a rceipt for all the money we paid to lawyers to fight thsi BS. Apple could appeal the costs and say, those are too high or just appeal just to drag out paying. Samsung could simply avoid that and simply wait until the next time Apple needs hardware and charge an additional 10% on EVERYTHING. Which would make up for all that money and then some. Don't have to argue in court, don't have to deal with spending money to fight an appeal. Just add up to 3% on costs...DONE!

53. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Quote: "Because Samsung is the better company". I get you,Techie... However, I see it more like teaching a nagging company a lesson. Making Apple pay for the embarrassment it has brought upon Samsung in this court battles. So, Apple paying Samsung for damages will put a well-deserved humiliation upon them. That was my point. I wasn't just talking about Samsung getting compensated for damages, but also about the shame it will bring upon Apple... I mean, the news will be that Apple sued a company and lost, then Apple was ordred to pay up for reputational damages it has caused to the company which it wrongfully sued. That would be a blow to Apple' s ego. I hope you get my point.

51. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Also, If Samsung really wanted to hurt Apple, they could have no done any deal with them. Consider this. Apple buys several components from Samsung. lets say Samsung refuses to do any deal.\ It means Apple would try to offer more money or try to find a 3rd party. We already know 3rd parties can't yield parts liek Samsung can. So if Apple uses a 3rd party, it means lesser yield, meanign les sproduct. When peopel can't buy an iPhone, they simply go buy somethign else. Who is the best option for a better iPhone? Samsung. For the millions in lose sales, Samsung would gain at least 75% of them. And even if Samsung doesn't get 50% of the sales, they will still be sellign mor eparst to pther companies who would also see an increase in sales. In other worlds, Samsung wins wither way. But Samsung played nice and still did contracts even while being sued by Apple. Samsung holds all the aces and face cards, while Apple just has 2 jokers. Samsung could have easily ruin Apple. In fact screw the $5B Samsung makes from Apple...I would have not did a component delay and just sold my own product and made that $5M by lowering your market-share and taking over. Just consider this. Samsung lost $5M from the possible Note sales. They saved money too, in the fact they ended up not spending the money to make more of them. If Samsung had not done a deal with Apple, the Galaxy S7 would or could have gained even more sales while Appel struggled to keep iPhone 7's on the shelf. Apple makes roughly 3-5M phones per month if that. Do lets halve those to 1.5-3M and Samsung who has the capacity to make 5M devices per month easy, could easily gain 2M extra sals per month. Which in 6 months is way more than the $5B they lost on the Note 7. But Samsung played nice even while Apple sued them. Just because your opponent is down, doesn't mean you have to kick them while they are down. Show you are the better and help them stand up and maybe they won't kick you again. BEcause of Apple does, Samsung can cut them off at the frikkin juggler and eliminate Apple. Which si exactly the position Microosft put Appel in. See Microsoft played nice. They did a deal to continue to make apps for mac OS. However, if Microsoft the worlds largest software developer had left Apple in 1997, then other could have thought that Apple was a losing platform and that it would be time to jump ship if the worlds biggest developer left first. Steve Jobs kissed up to his enemy and begged him to stay on, even doing a deal which made IE the default browser and on on Mac OS. Bill gates could have been like screw you Steve. We are winning bye...just die or you can come work for me. Once office is gone from the Mac, Apple would have been toast because the Mac was already not selling. Just read the facts on Apple. They rely to heavily;y on one product and any major supplier to that one product can end Apple in one blow.

43. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

The money are not the point here. I'm fed up to open your eyes. Wake up guys. Even Apple is not for the money. All the point here is, Apple to show the World how ''innovative'' is. And how not innovative Samsung is. The truth is on opposite site though. Samsung have also huge number of patents in this sector. Apple had NOTHING when came with the first iPhone. They had to pay....and they didn't like it. So they started to patent the rectangle the colors....and every possible BS ....

5. patrioticwarrior

Posts: 134; Member since: Nov 09, 2016

Apple to the judge - you are hearing it wrong thus you are making wrong judgement

15. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I know most of the trolls didn't do it, because I did because it was an interesting read. if you go and look closely at the lawsuit, it basically boiled down to the same thing Apple tried to sue Microsoft over when it came to Windows. Basically you don't get to patent things that are required to make something work. You also cannot patent certain types of looks. Example - With Bezel, the size of the bezel is basically dictated by what underneath. Even if my bezel is the same size as yours, so what. That is liek saying, well if I make a size 10 shoe, you shoe can't be the exact same size 10 as mine; you need to make it slightly larger or smaller. The icons is the exact same thing Apple sued Microsoft over as well. The icons simple represent an app. You can't patent an icon that is simple a computer drawing of an existing object.. if Apple made novel icons then it would be different. A phone is a phone whether its a real phone or an icon of a phone. You don't get to patent the icon if you are not said owner of the real thing. The icon gird. This was the most stupid and is a ptant that should have never been awarded. Because computers in general have always used an icon grid. This article written on Zdnet -http://www.zdnet.com/pictures/proof-that-apples-main-ipad-and-iphone-interface-has-barely-changed-in-20-years-gallery/6/ - shows that the concept of the icon grid was borne on other products. Grid of icons have been used on OS' that used a GUI. Apple may have been the OEM to produce a computer using it, but they had no right to patent it because they stole it from Xerox. Just because Xerox didn't patent their ideas, doesn't mean you get to steal it and patent it. Apple lost their case vs Microsoft and the case vs Samsung wasn't even based on legit things. The court should have thrown it out from the very beginning and when Apple was found guilty of stealing from Samsung, the whole case should have been reversed or thrown out and both having a win and thus negating each others case. Al-Obama should not have vetoed a case that was fairly ruled in court. I still say to this day, he should be slapped for ever getting involved and saving Apple, when they were found guilty by a court. A politician of any type should not have the power to overturn a court ruling, unless there is evidence that the case was not properly handled and the case was brought to said politician. Samsung only copied Apple with one device and that was the original Galaxy S. Apple simply tried to use that to sue Samsung on nearly every product because the Galaxy S has the potential to kick the iPhone's ass and it has done so several times. Maybe not for a full 12 months, but for several quarters. Now the $1B has now fallen to less than $200M. That's WTF you get for not unlocking that iPhone after the Gov't stepped in and saved your ass the last time. KARMA IS A B****H ain't it Apple?!

19. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

Please hush.

20. Medoo

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 06, 2016

Hhhhhh apple looting company

24. tedkord

Posts: 17318; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Unanimous. Do you know how rare unanimous Supreme Court rulings are? The salty, bitter tears will flow tonight.

64. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Oh I so wanted to comment on that too. UNANIMOUS! Even the Republican die-hard greedy hypocritcal self-righteous Judges, rules in favor of Samsung. I hope Samsung sues Judge Koh too. In fact, put her on a plane to South Korea so she can be locked up for not only siding against her own country, but for using her power illegally to not allow Samsung to even argue the case in her court fairly, when Samsung had evidence that would have insured they would have won from the get-go!

93. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

I agree on that. Samsung should also sue that Lucy Koh for false and wrong judgement! Sending her back to her native country for punishment will be the icing on the cake!

26. talon95

Posts: 994; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

Well it's about time!! Consumers finally win. Best news all year. We should all go out and celibate for like a week!

36. ctdog4748

Posts: 797; Member since: Mar 05, 2016

What phone do you use?

67. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Does it matter. We all win becaus eo fthis. Because no one will be wasting time and money suing Apple and Appel won't be suing anymore. They al simply have to win by making a product we as consumers want to buy and simply may the best company win. After all, that is how Capitalism is suppose to work. Court rooms is not where you fight such a battle. Apple knows it can't win on the market whether they try or not. Because whatever move Apple makes, someone else is going to follow and make sure Apple never gets a secure hold in any market.

83. willard12 unregistered

He uses the Samsung Galaxy S 8-0.

107. talon95

Posts: 994; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

With Jump on Demand I use whatever is awesome. That should be a pixel but it's an S7 currently because Pixel isn't sold through T-mobile and they took away my Note. But even Apple benefits from this ruling which only makes sense. Imagine if SpaceX sued NASA for the cost of a rocket because of the icons on the bathroom nobs.

66. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yes, I believe this is the most important part. If Apple would have won, it would have left the door open for everyone to start suing over the most basic BS. None of these devices have novel ideas. They are all copies from pre-existing products of some type, electronic in nature or not. This case shows how lame the US Gov't is, and how its lying in bed with Corporations has tainted our system. How the USPTO office is so easily to foll and I am sure someone got some pay on the side. They had too. The fact Apple raise the case in a court where they were highly favored to win, wasn't fair either. The fact they didn;'t choose a jury of peopel who actually understand patents and how they are suppose to work. I would have award Apple $100M for Samsung copying the original iPhoen with the Galaxy S. That's it. The res of the phones do not even mimic the iPhone. in fact its the other way around. The iPhone 4 looks very similar to the Galaxy SII+. The iPhone 6 shape and rounded corners, look exactly like those on the Ativ S. Samsung didn't sue Apple because Samsung would have lost, just like Appel should have. Now they will and frankly they shouldnt get a dime as they need to pay Samsung 100% of its legal fees, which is what is already mandated in any court case, that the loser has to pay all court fess and litigation costs. Apple is "cooked" and yes pun is certainly intended. Apple brought this on themselves for suign in the first place. But we can thank Apple for something.: Thank you apple for suing Samsung. Because of it, you drew even more attention to Samsung, and show that you actually are afraid of them, just as you were and are of Microsoft. Because with so many Chinese OEM's who have made phones that look EXACTLY like the iPhone and Apple has not raise one dollar to even put them all out of business or even sue them, means that Apple sued Samsung for no good reason, other than they knew Samsung had the potential to kick their @$$!

58. vikingsfootball09

Posts: 112; Member since: Oct 02, 2013

apple should not have been allowed to sue samsung if apple didnt sue multiple oems for having the same features that apple were suing samsung for...its all or noone. this law suit was a sham and a scam to begin with.

74. cheetah2k

Posts: 2228; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Samsung need every penny at the moment after the Note 7 damage control. Good win, but now they need to focus on consumer faith or the S8 will be a flop

80. tedkord

Posts: 17318; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Samsung is just fine, money wise.

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