Amidst the years-long, highly publicized Apple v. Samsung patent infringement lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday morning “unanimously” decided in Samsung’s favor, citing that “smartphone design patents can only cover components of a smartphone, and not the entire product,” according to AppleInsider.
As reported earlier in the day by USA Today, the case will now be sent back to the lower, circuit courts, where a judge will determine the recalculated amount that Samsung will have to pay Apple in damages. If you’ll recall, the original case, which made headlines around the world back in 2012, saw Samsung initially being on the line for as much as $1 billion for the company’s alleged “violation of Apple’s concept designs.”
Through persistent, back-and-forth litigation over the years, however, that amount was ultimately whittled down to a still cumbersome $548 million — prior to Samsung deciding last year that it wanted to challenge as much as $400 million of that judgment via the highest court on U.S. soil.
Unreasonable as it may seem, Apple originally sought penalties against Samsung equal to the South Korean company’s entire profit from infringing devices. However Samsung, perhaps for obvious reasons, suggested that such a penalty would be ridiculous — famously equating it to a car-maker, “forfeiting the whole profits of a car due to an infringing cupholder.”
Back in October of this year, when the opening arguments in this case were first laid out before the eight-member panel of judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts, echoing the sentiments of his colleagues, noted how the term “patent infringement” could pertain to a single aspect or component of the device — such as its appearance or camera module positioning, for instance — and not the device, as a whole. Roberts famously argued that Samsung did not infringe “on all the chips and wires” that make a smartphone, a smartphone.
The notorious, years-long Apple vs. Samsung rivalry is as far-reaching as it is well-documented. The Silicon Valley tech-giant first sought legal action against its South Korean foe under the guidance of late co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs — whose hatred of the Android operating system was so fervent, he famously quipped that he was willing to go to “thermonuclear war” over what he called “a stolen product,” even if he had to spend all of Apple’s vast cash reserves to “destroy” the mobile OS from Mountain View.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Apple indicated in an official statement that “we remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn’t right,” according to company spokesman, Josh Rosenstock.
What do you think about the Supreme Court’s decision in this case? Let us know in the comments!