The Supreme Court has ruled that Samsung should not pay Apple $400 million in damages as part of a long-running legal suit involving the two tech giants. Apple had sued Samsung for patent infringement regarding specific aspects of smartphones. Earlier in the course of the lawsuit, Apple had argued that Samsung had deliberately infringed on its patents in the process of developing and selling its brand of smartphones.
Back in 2011, Apple had argued that Samsung had infringed upon its patents in the design of the Samsung brands of smartphones. Apple had also argued that the manner in which the icons were arranged on the Samsung smartphones was an infringement on its patents.
Interestingly, Apple won more than $1 billion in damages at the conclusion of the original suit. However, a series of appeals has led to a drastic reduction of money that Samsung has been required to pay Apple.
Apple had then gone demanded that Samsung pays it $400 million in damages to compensate the losses that it made as a result of the actions of Samsung. But in an interesting twist of events, the Supreme Court unanimously threw out the award and referred the case back to a lower court.
While delivering the ruling, Judge Sonia Sotomayor heavily relied on a textual interpretation of the law. The judge noted that there is a major difference between a component of a device and the entire device.
The manner in which the judges interpreted this aspect of the law is of major importance to current and future similar lawsuits, according to observers. According to the arguments presented by Apple earlier, the company wanted the judges to force Samsung to pay back all the profits that it had made from selling phones that contained the patented designs.
Samsung had countered that it was only fair for the judges to consider ordering it to pay only for the profits that it had made from the specific designs that Apple argued that Samsung had used.
Although it appears that the Supreme Court has sided with Samsung, pundits believe that there is still a lot at stake. Rick McKenna of Foley $ Lardner LLP believes that the lower courts will have to re-interpret the meaning of the law within the context of the suit and that this is likely to take a long time.
Another expert in intellectual property law, Paul Berghoff, believes that the new ruling by the Supreme Court does not resolve the legal impasse of the case. Therefore, it remains important to observe the direction that the case will take, in light of the ruling by the Supreme Court.