The never-ending battle between Apple and Samsung over an alleged design patent violation is going all the way to the Supreme Court. Apple previously formally requested that the Supreme Court not grant the case a hearing, but the decision to hear the case was issued this morning.
As SCOTUSblog notes, the hearing will only consider question two in Samsung’s appeal, which asks if a design patent applied to a component of a product should result in the Samsung awarding Apple profits limited to what was attributable to that component.
Whether, where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, an award of infringer’s profits should be limited to those profits attributable to the component.
The two companies previously reached a $548 million settlement in the patent dispute case, but with this catch:
Samsung further reserves all rights to reclaim or obtain reimbursement of any judgment amounts paid by Samsung to any entity in the event the partial judgment is reversed, modified, vacated or set aside on appeal or otherwise, including as a result of any proceedings before the USPTO addressing the patents at issue.
So what’s on the line in the Supreme Court case is whether Apple will have to refund Samsung the $548 million previously rewarded. The original case dates back to a verdict reached four years ago in which Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1 billion after violating iPhone design patents when designing Galaxy handsets, although that ruling has since been pulled apart at various times.
Update: Samsung statement follows:
We welcome the Court’s decision to hear our case. We thank the many large technology companies, 37 intellectual property professors, and several groups representing small business, which have supported our position.
The Court’s review of this case can lead to a fair interpretation of patent law that will support creativity and reward innovation.