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.

applevsamsung
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.

Top Rated Comments

Chuck Kostalnick Avatar
65 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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lennholm Avatar
65 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.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
65 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 ('http://www.fosspatents.com/2016/01/broadbased-support-for-samsungs-supreme_22.html') 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
65 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
65 months ago

Agreed. Samsung should just pay what they were ordered to pay by the court of law and move on.
[doublepost=1454683714][/doublepost]


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?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jsameds Avatar
65 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.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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