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The US Supreme Court Rules Against Apple Over iPhone Design Patents

Apple In Court
December 6, 2016

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court ruled against Apple in a long-running patent dispute with Samsung over iPhone design patents. As a result, the case must go back to a lower court where a new sum of damages will be decided, according to USA Today.

In a unanimous 8-0 decision, the Court said that Samsung was correct in its argument that design patents can only cover components of a smartphone, not the entire product.

Apple had previously been awarded $1 billion against Samsung in this case over design patent violations regarding early Galaxy smartphones. That number was dropped to $548 billion. At last count, a lower court awarded Apple $399 million in damages saying that the design for the Samsung smartphones borrowed heavily from early iPhones.

In siding with Samsung, the U.S. Supreme Court said that an “article of manufacture” may be a component of a device but not the whole device. The Court did not determine whether or not Samsung’s design infringements were a component or the entire device.

This case once again moves to a lower court, which must decide how much Apple should receive in damages, given the Supreme Court ruling.

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