A federal court has ordered Samsung to pay $533 million to Apple for copying their design features in a patent which is seven years old. The Jury tracked $5 million in damages for a pair of patented functions. The award is more like a victory for Apple who argued in the court that the design was iPhone’s proprietary. The case ascertained whether the design was so important that it could be considered the “article of design” in any product or as a smartphone.
Samsung attorney John Quinn said, “We don’t think it is supported by the evidence. We have every concern about the determinations about the article of manufacture.” He also denied the offer to send the jurors back for more discussion saying that the company will pursue post-trial motions to show its concerns about the decision. A jury member said that the panel agreed that one of the design patents represents the whole phone while the other two were more like the display assembly which give iPhone its signature look. She said, “you use the paint, but it is not the article of manufacture. I had to really think about it. We kind of felt like we ended up at a happy medium.”
Apple said in the court that the design was so important to iPhone that it makes it the “article of manufacturing” and is worth all the money which Samsung will pay for copying their design. The jury was asked to decide if the discussed design features are worthy of all the profit made or are they just a fraction of it. The round-edged screen, a bezel, and rows of displayed icons are the three design patents. Samsung no longer sells those smartphone models. The two utility patents are the “tap-to-zoom” and “bounce-back” features.
A lengthy trial focused on whether the design features are worth all the money made. Samsung has challenged the conclusion which requires it to give up all the earned profits. US Supreme Court overturned the penalty on the company in 2016. The case was sent back to the court stating that Samsung should not be required to give up all the profits. Samsung said in a response, “Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages. We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”
This issue of design patents rallied Samsung’s tech sector supporters and Apple’s supporters in creative and design communities. The IT sector giants like Facebook, Google, Dell were backing Samsung and big names like Coca-Cola were with Apple. Samsung was ordered to pay $548 million of total $1 billion to Apple for copying.