Thought the old Apple and Samsung patent case was over and done with by now? Back in 2012 we saw a jury hand Apple a sizable victory, ruling that Samsung had violated its design and utility patents and awarding over a billion dollars in damages. That figure was revisited time and time again in the months (becoming years) that followed, ultimately landing just a little bit south of where it was initially, with Samsung on the hook for $930 million. Well, it turns out the story’s far from over just yet, and Samsung could see its penalty nearly cut in half.
At issue is a $382 million chunk of that verdict, awarded for trade dress dilution. The problem is, that trade dress is supposed to be purely aesthetic – and specifically not functional. But this appeals court ruled that the stuff Apple was trying to protect under trade dress law was too closely tied to its products’ operation – and hence, not eligible for such protections. As a result, that $382M portion of the verdict is being sent back down to the lower court for another review.
Considering the way this number has bounced back and forth, we doubt we’ve reached the final total for what Samsung owes Apple, but it’s certainly promising news for Samsung, all the same. Will we still be discussing the fallout from this suit as 2015 gives way to 2016? The way appeals have been stretching out, we’d hardly be surprised.