A partial win obtained Monday in court by Apple Inc. gives the U.S. giant more leverage for a final agreement it could seek with Samsung Electronics Inc. to finish up a fight over mobile smartphones that started under Steve Jobs, who accused the South Korean company of copying his designs.
Samsung used some patented designs and two other features of the Apple iPhone in a few older models of its devices, a U.S. appeals court announced in upholding approximately $548 million in damages for the Cupertino-based company. The court explained the iPhone’s appearance which Apple sought to protect is not only about beauty, but also function, and isn’t eligible for coverage under U.S. trademark law. This could remove about $382 million from the original decision.
The ruling gives Apple an advantage in any further negotiations with Samsung. The two smartphone producers have seized their global patent wars except for the question which was decided on Monday and another case, also in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
“It appears that the end is near in this case, as the bulk of the damages awarded were on the design patents, which have now been upheld. If the parties want to call a cease fire, as they have in other jurisdictions, the table is set,” said Michael Risch, a law professor at Villanova University School of Law in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
While the splitting of damages is only based on an interpretation of the jury, the jurors never compiled a list with each amount in the verdict form. That translates to the fact that the judge will have to organize a hearing to find out how much Samsung must pay, Risch mentioned.
A case that involves Apple’s contention which it will be allowed to force Samsung to take out certain patented features from Galaxy phones is still awaiting the verdict.
“We are pleased the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal confirmed Samsung blatantly copied Apple products. Even though Samsung must pay for its widespread infringement of our patents, this case has always been about more than money. It’s about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love, which is hard to put a price on,” Josh Rosenstock, an Apple spokesman, explained in a statement.
For Apple, the legal dispute is more about reputation than money. According to recent data, the $548 million equals to approximately two days’ worth of iPhone sales.
Image Source: Talk Android