Decision in Apple v. Samsung Appeal Lowers Apple's Damages Award
Begun in 2012 over a concern that Samsung's products willfully infringed on Apple's patents for the iPhone, a jury eventually ruled largely in Apple's favor and the Cupertino company was awarded over $1 billion in damages. The award was later slightly reduced after it was determined the original jury had erred in one portion of its decision, but Samsung was still owing roughly $900 million to Apple.
Today, however, a U.S. appeals court is ruling to reverse another significant portion of the judgment, finding Samsung wasn't in violation of "trade dress" and therefore doesn't owe as much as was previously awarded by the courts (via Bloomberg Business).
The exact portion of the case being reassessed amounts to about $382 million according to Samsung, leaving the Korean company still owing Apple $548 million in damages if the lower courts looking at the case decide to reject this part of the award. The actual award amount will be recalculated by the lower court following today's decision.
The term "trade dress" refers directly to the ways in which a product is packaged and presented, and was originally one of the bigger points of win for Apple when the jury ruled in its favor back in 2012. After Samsung appealed, the appeals court on the case found the iPhone's overall look "can't be protected," thus requiring a recalculation of Apple's estimated $920 million damage award.
The part of the original decision upheld in today's ruling was Samsung's general patent infringement when in comparison with Apple products, including features like pinch and zoom, double tap to zoom, and other basic features patented by Apple. So while Samsung may yet escape without penalty over its phones having a similar look to the iPhone, the company will still be required to pay for violating Apple's patents.
The next part of the case is in limbo as a lower court recalculates the $930 million in damages owed by Samsung. The $382 million of that $920 million awarded to Apple, regarding the trade dress, is what will be addressed specifically by the lower court, with the amount being either lowered or removed altogether from the overall sum.