Apple Says U.S. Supreme Court Should Reject Samsung's Appeal Request

In December, Samsung asked the United States Supreme Court to hear a final appeal in its ongoing patent battle with Apple, which would potentially nullify a $548 million settlement awarded to Apple. In a lengthy document filed with the court this afternoon (via Foss Patents), Apple urges the Supreme Court to deny Samsung's request, accusing the company of raising issues that do not "deserve review" in an effort to prolong court proceedings.

Samsung has claimed that the jury did not adequately understand the patents in question because members weren't provided with enough explanation by the court. The South Korean company has also suggested the case has wider implications that could encourage design patent trolls, an assertion Apple refers to as a "doomsday warning" based on "extreme hypotheticals."
Samsung's effort to make this case seem certworthy depends on a made-up narrative in which Samsung, not Apple, is the innovator, despite the overwhelming evidence that Samsung copied the iPhone's innovative design. [...]

Once Samsung's diversions are swept aside as they should be, the actual issues it presents do not deserve review. The decisions below broke no new legal ground; they simply applied the statute and well-settled law to the extraordinary record of infringement and copying in this case.
Apple goes on to say that Samsung has had its day in court and while the litigation is "high-profile," it is "legally unexceptional" and Samsung has not presented a legitimate reason as to why the court should prolong it.

While Apple doesn't feel Samsung's case is worth the Supreme Court's attention, Facebook, Google, and other technology companies have all urged the court to take on Samsung's appeal to overturn the ruling in Apple's favor. A major concern is the amount that Samsung was forced to pay for its design patent infringement -- nearly $400 million -- and the implication it has for similar disputes in the future.

Samsung has already paid the agreed upon $548 million settlement to Apple, but should the Supreme Court take on the case and rule in Samsung's favor, Apple would be required to pay back the money. Samsung's Supreme Court appeal was a last ditch effort, and should the Supreme Court refuse to hear the case, Samsung will not be able to recoup its money, putting an end to a patent battle that's been going on since 2012.

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52 months ago

Did Samsung "infringe"? Yes. However the results are a bit steep. I don't buy my smartphones based on how an icon looks.

The point is that they ripped off the "Look and Feel" of a product, which is one way people are persuaded to buy something.
Rating: 8 Votes
52 months ago

The point is that they ripped off the "Look and Feel" of a product, which is one way people are persuaded to buy something.

The idea that "look and feel" could be patented was dismissed back in the 90s with Apple vs Microsoft.

Remembering how radically different the iPhone seemed when it first appeared, and then how radically look-alike Samsung's versions were soon afterwards, you'd have to be a real Hater not to side with Apple on this one.

Nah, I don't remember that, I remember how it looked like a modern version of the SonyEricsson P800 and the next step in the ongoing trend towards phones with larger displays and fewer physical buttons. Sure, the HTML5 capable browser was a neat gimmick but ultimately useless without 3G connectivity.
Rating: 8 Votes
52 months ago

Interesting that all the other technology companies say the hearing should go ahead.
I've no idea what the argument is about but, this does appear to have merit given the names backing the appeal.

It's because every modern company is at risk due to an old and outdated law. Apple included.

What's so rotten about Apple's legal practice is that they are actually fighting to set legal precedents that would harm not only Samsung, but the whole industry, including Apple. I'm pretty sure deep inside no (sane) Apple lawyer wants this ridiculous design patent damage award to stand.

If allowed to stand, it's not too difficult to speculate whom(/who??) patent trolls would go after first.

You're one of only a few people in this thread who understand a primary reason this case is being appealed to SCOTUS, and why it has so much support from other companies.

And yes, the biggest irony and hypocrisy of it all, is that other Apple lawyers (e.g. VirnetX case) have argued the same thing as Samsung, when placed in a similar situation: that patent awards should be apportioned by how much they contribute overall out of the tens of thousands of patents used in a smartphone.

But Samsung were found guilty? What new evidence would mean this wasn't the case?

There are two primary parts to their 200+ page appeal, and both have to do with a purportedly misinformed jury awarding Apple all of Samsung's profits on smartphones that infringed on design patents.

1. "Where a design patent includes unprotected non-ornamental features, should a district court be required to limit that patent to its protected ornamental scope?"

This is about how Judge Koh instructed the jury on design patents. Or rather, didn't. Remember, you can only patent ornamental designs, not functional ones.

Even after being asked to, Koh failed to tell the jury that they should ignore the non-ornamental parts of Apple's design. E.g. rounded corners, flat face, bezel, and icon grid, none of which Apple can own. By failing to do this, Samsung alleges the jury mistakenly included such items in their decision.

Of note is that the Court of Appeals overturned the jury's verdict that Apple's trade dress was infringed, by ruling that the trade dress was unprotectable because it was functional, not ornamental.

Yet they then confirmed that the design patents (upon which the trade dress was based) were infringed. Huh? If they're invalid when combined as trade dress because of functionality, how could they be infringed on their own? This is one of the points in question.

2. "Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer's profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?"

The big one. This is why other companies are backing Samsung (and so would Apple if they weren't directly involved, because they're going to be a victim of it too someday).

You see, design patents have a extra wicked weapon in their legal arsenal, one that was added in 1887 to help a carpet company with friends in Congress. Anyone found infringing on a design patent can be made to give up their ENTIRE PROFIT on an item that infringes. This might have made some sense back when products contained one or two such patents, but modern products can contain thousands.

For example, if Apple were to say, accidentally use a patented image deep in some app, the owner of its design patent could in theory demand EVERY SINGLE PENNY that Apple made on all the millions of Apple devices that included it... even if that image was the very tiniest portion of the entire device.

So Samsung's (and many others', including experts who had previously testified on Apple's behalf) argument is that this particular old statute... created for much simpler times... which gives design patents the possibility of awards far outside of their actual impact, needs to be changed or removed, and courts use only normal patent award methods as originally intended before that 1887 design patent addition.

Even the Appeals Court did not disagree, but took the easy way out and claimed their hands were tied, unless Congress updates the law:

"(Law Professors) argue that an award of a defendant’s entire profits for design patent infringement makes no sense in the modern world. Those are policy arguments that should be directed to Congress. We are bound by what the statute says, irrespective of policy arguments that may be made against it." - Appeals Court

Companies and legal experts ('') from all sides have filed supporting briefs, in the hope that perhaps the Supreme Court can bring some common sense to play, or failing that, wake up Congress or at least the Solicitor General.
Rating: 7 Votes
52 months ago

Go back to what Samsung was actually doing in 2011 and 2012. They opened up stores, designed just like an apple store, with big banners about the apps available on their devices, and ALL those app icons came straight out of Apple's Ads, Marketing, and design work. They were even including app icons that were exclusive to iOS.

If you're talking about what I think you are, it was debunked long ago. You're apparently referring to that old misleading photo of a Samsung booth that happened to be in the middle of an EU chain store which had Apple icons on its store walls.

And the design patents weren't just about icon shape.. they were about sliding on a touch sensitive screen to unlock a phone, which was a unique patent.

Slide to unlock is a patent which only one judge out of over a dozen judges worldwide failed to invalidate... the single holdout being California Judge Koh. Every other judge immediately invalidated it over prior art, as slide to unlock had been used on a Windows phone back in 2002, and touchscreen slide switches had been around for decades.
Rating: 7 Votes
52 months ago

Agreed. Samsung should just pay what they were ordered to pay by the court of law and move on.

These are always good for a laugh.

What kills me is that Samsung's history of stealing ideas from Apple blatant and egregious , and yet the bleeding-heart apologists come on here and say "eh, they all copy from each other...this stifles innovation". What a joke. Maybe companies borrow ideas or direction, but wholesale ripoff and stealing should always be condemned.

So I'm assuming you think that Apple should pay Virnetx and not appeal that decision too then?
Rating: 7 Votes
52 months ago
For those who are still having doubts, here is a Ctrl+C Ctrl+V old post of mine.

If we just stay in 2015 territory then the design of the S6 is uncannily similar to the iPhone 6.

Beyond that you have the aptly named Samsung Pay (Apple's version is called Apple Pay).

The box and accessory design

The fingerprint scanner setup

The stock keyboard

Samsung Wallet

The headphones

Don't forget that's just recently. They have been doing this kind of thing for years now.
Rating: 7 Votes
52 months ago

I think there's a lot of grey there. Here's the thing; a company that tweaks the LTE signal to get slightly faster throughput can be protected and earn millions in royalties over 20 years, but a device as revolutionary as the iPhone which upended multiple industries and companies can't be protected?

If it included new inventions, of course they should be protectable. But the iPhone was almost entirely a consumer refinement of many already known or used features.

* It was not the first all touch smartphone. The first smartphone in the world, the 1993-4 Simon, was that.
* Although it was the first consumer phone with multi-touch capacitive touch, it was not the first announced or shown as a prototype. In fact, by 2006 analysts were predicting that capacitive screens would take off in 2007 and replace resistive.
* It was not the first to use orientation sensors to flip between portrait and landscape.
* It was not the first mobile device to have an icon grid, or flat screen, or slide-to-unlock, or flick scrolling, or green phone icons, microphone images or any of that other UI stuff that those ignorant of history tend to bring up.
* It was certainly not the first to have Google Maps, app stores, search and so forth. In fact, it was missing major common items at first like MMS, a video cam, and third party SDK.

What most people do NOT know, is that a Korean smartphone maker came out in 2005 with a device that looked remarkably like the half-decade later iPhone 4... and much like the phone prototype later shown to the jury by Apple.

Spookily, Unwired magazine in 2005 accurately predicted that Apple might use a similar design.

With prior art like that, it's small wonder that Apple's lawyers also got the Pidion banned from the Koh trial. Good idea, since when the Pidion was later displayed to EU courts, Apple lost their "we invented the iPhone shape" trials every time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Most consumers have little to no idea of smartphones and ideas that came before Apple decided to take advantage of the world market and infrastructure that so many other companies had spent years and billions creating.

The reason Apple "up-ended" things, was because they were brand new to smartphones and thus had no legacy button devices to stay compatible with. This allowed them to go straight to an all touch device. (Of course later on, Apple got stuck with small screens for a while because of similar legacy issues, but they pushed through that after a few years.)

Rating: 6 Votes
52 months ago
Apple should just buy the Supremes.
Rating: 6 Votes
52 months ago

So I'm assuming you think that Apple should pay Virnetx and not appeal that decision too then?

Sam, Sam, Sam.... must I teach you everything? Sheesh. Here's the way it's supposed to work.
1. If Apple does something you're supposed to parse the issue to the Nth degree until you can rationalize why it's okay.
2. If it's done to Apple you're supposed to conflate varying issues into one Grand Unification theory of why Apple was victimized by company X.
3. Then you're supposed to start introducing unrelated evidence to change the narrative, but somehow manage to tie it back to Apple being in the right.
4. If all else fails, mention profit. Always mention profit.

If you can't do that Sam... if you can't ignore higher brain function and get with the program... there are people we can send to convince you to see things the right way. We know where you are because we've been tracking you through your gmail. Let's not have this conversation again okay. Next time, I might not be so... you see where I'm going here Sam. Don't you?
Rating: 6 Votes
52 months ago

IF Samsung Infringe then so did Apple just as badly so shouldn't they be sued for $1 Billion dollars or whatever was the original amount was? I like Apple products but They have copied quite a lot over the years

Look and feel of what? I have used Apple and Samsung products and they don't feel similar at all other than they both have glass screens and both are rectangles .....

Apple Devices:
iPhone 3GS
iPhone 4
iPhone 6 Plus
iPad Air
iPad Air 2

Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket
Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014
Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

IMHO Apple was just fishing and they happened t caught something in that and won a patent lawsuit....

Fanboy much? Android had Widgets and Multitasking WAY BEFORE Apple had included it and Apple just recently added split screen for their tablets which their phones have yet to be able to do.

Dont you know, to most of these people in this thread, the ONLY way Samsung hasn't copied 1:1, is if they came up with a screen that's a different shape and never made a rectangular phone...

OH wait, you mean they did? They went 16:9 before Apple? They went curved glass? they put capacitive buttons? they have smaller bezels/borders? they were plastic most of their generations, and now are all glass?

these don't sound like apple's devices do they?

I'm not saying that Samsung didn't copy ideas. they absolutely did. And so did Apple. And so did Moto, and so did .... on and on. every single company in tech has borrowed from eachother ideas for designs and implementations since the bloody 60's.

Technology is absolutely an industry, especially smartphones that have "Stood on the shoulders of giants". Anyone who believes that each of these companies have invented what they have or innovated what they have, in complete isolation, or in vacuum is a deluded fan boy.

Even, as revolutionary as the first iPhone was to the smart phone world (And it truly was), What they did wasn't in isolation, and wasn't outside of where people were already looking at steering the market. We were already moving to larger, touch screen devices. PDA's were already the craze. Blackberries were already selling millions, and the two segments were merging faster than ever. What Apple did, was use it's marketing muscle, as well as creative capabilities, to figure out how to do that better than anyone else at the time, using mostly existing technologies, that they did innovate by making work all-together for the first time.

SO these constant lawsuits... only have one victim. Not Apple. not samsung.

US! the consumer. Look at the breakdown (I believe Kdarling posted) about what Apple believes the individual breakdown costs are for each device sold. And then think about it. If Apple is also in licensing deals similar with other companies, and everyone has licensing deals with everyone else. How much of the cost of the device we are buying is licensing and going to other companies? and how much are our devices inflated in price just to pay for constant legal issues and these licensing deals, especially for things that are painfully obvious.
Rating: 5 Votes

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