Damages verdict in Apple v. Samsung hot potato tossed from federal to district court
The Supreme Court didn’t make a verdict and neither will the federal appeals court. It will be up to Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose District Court to determine what should be done with respect to the damages Samsung may or may not pay to Apple in a long-running patent infringement case.
Koh ruled over the original case back some six years ago when Infinite Loop alleged that the chaebol copied elements of the iPhone’s design and included them in its Galaxy S phones, thus monetarily benefiting from them.
The question that was left from Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s opinion was whether damages should really be determined from every smartphone sold or — and this would the trickier element — based on how much the components, both hardware and software, contributed to the value per unit.
Two federal circuit appeals judges wrote in a disposition that the debate on this question would require further jury evaluation that would have to be carried out in the lower court. Considerations need to be taken into Apple’s request for straight-up panel review and Samsung’s request for a new trial focusing solely on the damages.
The relevant article is 35 U.S.C. 289:
§ 289. Additional remedy for infringement of design patent
Whoever during the term of a patent for a design, without license of the owner, (1) applies the patented design, or any colorable imitation thereof, to any article of manufacture [emphasis ours] for the purpose of sale, or (2) sells or exposes for sale any article of manufacture to which such design or colorable imitation has been applied shall be liable to the owner to the extent of his total profit, but not less than $250, recoverable in any United States district court having jurisdiction of the parties.
Nothing in this section shall prevent, lessen, or impeach any other remedy which an owner of an infringed patent has under the provisions of this title, but he shall not twice recover the profit made from the infringement.
Apple claims that Samsung did not offer substance for its case that its now-admittedly infringing article was anything but the finished product and not the components that comprise it. But Samsung claims that the district court should have disclosed section 289’s expanded definition of “an article of manufacture” as set by the Supreme Court ruling to the jury considering the award amount.
It is there that we find the current crossroads. There’s no new trial, just a remand of the current one to San Jose. It will be up to the presiding judge to determine the next course of action.
The initial damages verdict in 2012 saw Apple off with over $1 billion, but a ruling later that year whittled the number down to $548 million. Years of escalating litigation over the damages finally drew the Supreme Court to a sum indeterminate.