Samsung Asks Federal Court to Take Another Look

Jun 29 2015 - 11:46am

Samsung has petitioned for a rehearing of a recent ruling by the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, DC that upheld nearly $400 million in damages for infringing Apple design patents. According to the San Jose Mercury News:

In June, Samsung urged the court to rehear the case with its full 12-judge roster, arguing that a three-judge panel erred May 18, 2015 when it left intact a jury's verdict that Samsung’s smartphones and tablets infringed on Apple's design patents.

That part of the verdict—which has been pared from an original judgment of $1 billion—accounts for about $400 million of the $548 million in damages Samsung still must pay Apple from their first trial.

"Unlike rugs, spoons, and simple mechanical objects, smartphones incorporate hundreds or thousands of different patented technologies, and it is undisputed here that Apple's design patents claim only partial, minor features of such devices," Samsung's lawyers argued in court papers.

In August 2012, a jury in San Jose, CA decided Samsung violated Apple's patent or trademark rights in 23 products. Last year, another federal jury found Samsung copied iPhone technology in more recent products, but awarded $120 million in damages, a fraction of what Apple sought. That case also has been appealed to the Federal Circuit.

The ongoing court battle continues to elicit strong emotions on both sides. Saidman DesignLaw Group’s principal, Perry Saidman is an affiliate member of IDSA. He writes: “Given the decisive tone of the Federal Circuit’s May 18, 2015 decision, it seems unlikely that the Court will grant Samsung’s request for rehearing, and it should not—the Court’s reasoning was sound.”

Saidman adds, “If the Court does grant Samsung’s request, design patent stakeholders should unite and help put the non-issue of “functionality” to bed.  If Samsung is not successful, a Petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court may well follow, along with continuing pressure on Congress, in which case design patent stakeholders should be concerned with the ongoing assault on design patents and take action, lest their rights be whittled away.”

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