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Apple and Samsung Continue Their Legal Fight
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Summary: The infringement fight between Apple and Samsung has gone full circle is back in federal court to determine if the Supreme Court’s decision carries any weight on the case.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose is requiring Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co to explain in her courtroom why another trial on design patent damages is needed. Apple and Samsung have been battling over patent infringements for the past several years and Judge Koh wants to understand why it needs to keep going.


During a 2012 trial and partial retrial the next year, Apple won a $930 million judgment from Samsung. Nearly $400 million of that judgment was for an infringement on three Apple patents regarding the design of the iPad and iPhone. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the side of Samsung that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had misconstrued the law on design patent damages.

The Supreme Court ruling specifically targeted the infringing “article of manufacture” issue that is in Section 289 of the Patent Act. They believed the issue did not necessarily refer to the entire end product that is sold to consumers. They ruled that the infringement could be just a component of the product. Under this ruling, Apple’s smartphone design could be broken down into separate manufacturing parts, resulting in far less in damages owed. However, the Supreme Court was unable to determine exactly how to apply the patents and would let the Federal Circuit address any issues.

This placed the case back on Koh’s desk. The appellate court stated, “We remand this case to the district court for further proceedings, which may or may not include a new damages trial.” Apple contends that Samsung did not argue or object during the trial that the design was an article of manufacture. In a brief signed by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner Mark Selwyn, Apple argued to Koh that the Supreme Court ruling “is a late-breaking afterthought pursued only after trial, and thus waived several times over.”

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Arguing for Samsung is Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Victoria Maroulis. She insists that Apple is just trying to save “a windfall recovery that it could not possibly obtain under the Supreme Court’s new rule.”

Koh ultimately ruled with Samsung on one point last Friday. Samsung proposed that the jury is instructed to award “only those profits which were derived from the article of manufacture.” However, Koh has instructed the jury to award “the total profit attributable to the infringing products.” Koh explained, “The court finds that Samsung did not waive the article of manufacture issue, but defers consideration of whether a new trial is warranted until after the court resolves other outstanding issues.”

The biggest issue that has to be resolved is the new rule the Supreme Court handed down about whether the “article of manufacture” should be decided by a judge or a jury. Koh is asking both sides to prepare arguments on seven issues which will affect her decision for a completely new trial or to let the original stand.

Do you think Apple is threatened by Samsung’s success? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about the fight between Apple and Samsung, read these articles:



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