It’s well into year four of the Samsung vs. Apple patent war and we’re still centered upon the initial case that was filed by Apple and resulted in Samsung having to pay near $1 billion in damages. Samsung has since made repeated appeals at different claims, hoping to overturn some, if not all of the damages. It’s won once and has taken off a $380 million chunk of the penalty, but there was still more than half a billion on the tab. Today, we found out that the US Patent and Trademark Office may be rejecting a key Apple patent that served as the foundation of a lot of the remaining damages. A final action must be published before we can officially say that the patent is rejected.
The patent centered around a design aspect of the iPhone. To condense the legalese down to something resembling bullet points:
- The USPTO evaluated two specific previous Apple patents and found no relevant artwork regarding the design aspect. As a result, the office believes that the patent in question shouldn’t have been granted.
- There are two bases for rejection based on other patents and artwork from other patents. Other patents at issue may come from LG, Sharp, Japanese design firms and even Samsung.
With this discovery, Samsung has another weapon in pursuing an appeal to the $547 million in damages relating to this case. The Korean OEM’s petition was rejected by the Federal Circuit Court, so the next action along the line might be Samsung paying up to Apple or going to the Supreme Court.
The gears of trademark barb-trading continue to grind.