Jury tells Samsung to pay big for copying iPhone design

A jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple more than $500 million in a retrial of a seven-year-old case for damages for infringing on i
A jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple more than $500 million in a retrial of a seven-year-old case for damages for infringing on iPhone patents

A federal court jury on Thursday ordered Samsung to pay Apple $533 million for copying iPhone design features in a patent case dating back seven years.

Jurors tacked on an additional $5 million in damages for a pair of patented functions. The award appeared to be a bit of a victory for Apple, which had argued in court that design was essential to the iPhone.

The case was keenly watched as a precedent for whether design is so important that it could actually be considered the "article of design" even in a product as complex as a smartphone.

"We don't think it is supported by the evidence," Samsung attorney John Quinn told US District Court Judge Lucy Koh after the verdict was read in her courtroom in Silicon Valley.

"We have every concern about the determinations about the article of manufacture."

Quinn declined an offer by the judge to send jurors back for further deliberation, saying Samsung would pursue post-trial motions to address its concerns about the verdict.

Juror Christine Calderon said the panel agreed that one of the design patents—the grid of colored icons—did represent the whole phone, while the other two at issue in the trial were seen as the display assembly that gave the iPhone its look.

She compared it to the Mona Lisa: "you use the paint, but it is not the article of manufacture."

"I had to really think about it," the 26-year-old Calderon, a technical writer, said after Koh dismissed the jury.

"We kind of felt like we ended up at a happy medium."

Long legal road

The case had been sent back to the district court following a Supreme Court decision to revisit an earlier $400 million damage award.

Apple reasoned in court that design was so integral to the iPhone that it was the "article of manufacture" and worth all the money Samsung made by copying the features.

The lower figure sought by the South Korean consumer electronics titan would have involved treating the design features as components.

The jury had been asked to determine whether design features at issue in the case are worth all profit made from Samsung smartphones that copied them—or whether those features are worth just a fraction because they are components.

Samsung was ordered to pay higher damages in a retrial of a patent infringement case brought by iPhone maker Apple
Samsung was ordered to pay higher damages in a retrial of a patent infringement case brought by iPhone maker Apple

Apple argued in court that the iPhone was a "bet-the-company" project at Apple and that design is as much the "article of manufacture" as the device itself.

The three design patents in the case apply to the shape of the iPhone's black screen with rounded edges and a bezel, and the rows of colorful icons displayed.

Samsung no longer sells the smartphone models at issue in the case.

Two utility patents also involved apply to "bounce-back" and "tap-to-zoom" functions.

An original trial finding that Samsung violated Apple patents preceded a lengthy appellate dueling over whether design features such as rounded edges are worth all the money made from a phone.

Technology vs Style

Samsung challenged the legal precedent that requires the forfeiture of all profits from a product, even if only a single design patent has been infringed.

The US Supreme Court in 2016 overturned the penalty imposed on the South Korean consumer electronics giant.

Justices ruled that Samsung should not be required to forfeit the entire profits from its smartphones for infringement on design components, sending the case back to a lower court.

"Today's decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages," the South Korean company said in response to an AFP inquiry.

"We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers."

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

The key question of the value of design patents rallied Samsung supporters in the tech sector, and Apple backers in the creative and design communities.

Samsung won the backing of major Silicon Valley and other IT sector giants, including Google, Facebook, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, claiming a strict ruling on design infringement could lead to a surge in litigation.

Apple was supported by big names in fashion and manufacturing. Design professionals, researchers and academics, citing precedents like Coca-Cola's iconic soda bottle.

The case is one element of a $548 million penalty—knocked down from an original $1 billion jury award —Samsung was ordered to pay for copying iPhone patents.


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Apple-Samsung iPhone design copying case goes to jury

© 2018 AFP

Citation: Jury tells Samsung to pay big for copying iPhone design (2018, May 25) retrieved 20 April 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-jury-samsung-539m-iphone.html
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May 25, 2018
Are Smartphones useful at homes? We need Laptop-Sized Cellphones INSIDE the pockets; How is it possible ? At least in Public places like Airports, Parks, Workplaces etc.,...OR EVERYWHERE ! What Federal Govt. should do is to hang gadgets to artificial trees which they can pull out and attach to their phone. They should NOT work far away from those trees, to prevent carrying them away (i.e steal). (May be ATM+SALES like arrangement can be set up, who knows). They can always pay appropriately and Take it away for Permanent use Too ! Also, Some Remote operation should be in place to keep track of nos. sold out and replenishing them ASAP. Why Federal Govt? Because the Businesses can enroll only if they find it profitable.

May 25, 2018
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

May 25, 2018
I should patent press to flush.

May 26, 2018
the panel agreed that one of the design patents—the grid of colored icons—did represent the whole phone
This is standard feature of all operational systems from IBM OS/2 from 1992. In addition, Samsung borrowed it from Android, i.e. operational system of Google, who sells it to manufacturers of SmartPhones. Why Samsung should pay for the same thing twice-times? Lets Google pay for it.


It was in OS9 on home computers even before that.

May 26, 2018
Breaking news: Apple to sue orchard industry group for trademark violation. They claim the use of an apple as the logo for the U.S. Apple Association, which represents the 7500 apple growers nationwide, is a violation of their trademark; a vital "article of design" of Apple Inc.

Everyone in the world knows that anything with an apple in the logo is property of Apple Inc.

Al Gore is considering seeking back royalties for his invention of the Internet.

The cases will be brought in Silicon Valley where juries can be convinced of anything you can imagine.

Those who can, do. Those who can't, sue.

May 26, 2018
Well know, from all the sad puppies howling, it is amusing to see who were gullible enough to sell Apple stock short. Over and over again. Suckers are born every day and go on to become online critics of malus pumila.

Prescription: a hearty mug of applejack a day. To chase away those boiler room blues.

May 27, 2018
Japan, Korea, and now China have a very long history of copying from the west. This verdict comes with no surprise.


May 27, 2018
B_A, what you know and what is are well separated. Since you are preaching for a moral crusade? How about first cleaning up your own behavior?

Have you paid royalties owed the Chinese for gunpowder and wheelbarrows and rice? Are you going to do the right thing and cut a check to the Venetians for your glass windows?

Are you going to pay reparations to the American First Nations for all that has been stolen from them? For robbery and oppression that continues to this day?

Are you advocating to pay reparations to those of African and Indigenous descent forcibly abducted into slavery. And then, for three centuries, suffered under the whip and the rapist culture of Peculiar Institution?

Hello! Are you there?

Nah, didn't think so.

None of you altright fairytails have the moral capacity to admit your errors and make amends. None of you have the quality of character for self-awareness and civic responsibility.

May 30, 2018
Japan, Korea, and now China have a very long history of copying from the west. This verdict comes with no surprise.


And Apple copied it all from Xerox and the movie 'The Minority Report'.

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