Samsung takes Apple patent fight to Supreme Court

Samsung takes Apple patent fight to Supreme Court

Samsung is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling that it violated some of Apple’s patents for the blockbuster iPhone.

The appeals court held that the South Korean electronics manufacturer infringed on certain Apple design patents — dealing with a phone's look and aesthetics but not functions — when making its own smartphones, affirming a roughly $548 million judgment against Samsung.

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Samsung says that a jury in the case should not have been allowed to consider design elements that were not patented when judging similarities between Apple’s iPhone and some Samsung smartphones.

It also says that the court’s decision to award a financial judgment based on 100 percent of Samsung’s profits from the phones was unfair.

“In other words, even if the patented features contributed 1% of the value of Samsung’s phones, Apple gets 100% of Samsung’s profits,” the company said in the Supreme Court filing.

The company argues that today’s smartphones are defined by more than aesthetics, and so laws built for objects where design and function are more closely linked should not be applied in the case.

“A patented design might be the essential feature of a spoon or rug,” Samsung said in its filing. “But the same is not true of smartphones, which contain countless other features that give them remarkable functionality wholly unrelated to their design.”

Samsung said the “time is ripe” for the court to review the law surrounding design patents.

In response to Samsung’s request to the Supreme Court, an Apple spokesperson referred The Hill to the company’s statement when a federal court initially ruled in its favor in 2012. The company said at the time that it makes its “products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy.”

Samsung is continuing its fight despite paying Apple the $548 million last week. The company has said it will ask for part of the money back if the patents are ruled invalid or if the high court takes up the case.

The two companies agreed earlier this year to end their patent litigation around the world, leaving the disputes to be decided in the U.S. courts.