THE US SUPREME COURT has sided with Samsung in its long-running patent infringement case with Apple, tossing out the $399m in damages it was ordered to pay the iPhone maker.
Earlier this year, a federal jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $399m (around £313m) for infringing on design patents used in Apple's iPhone, throwing out the previous $550m damages bill the firm had been slapped with. Before that, Samsung had been ordered to hand over $930m.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously ruled that this amount be tossed out too. It said that damages need not be calculated based on the profits for an entire device, with the $399m damaging payment having represented profits from 11 Samsung smartphone models.
This followed a seemly-convincing argument from Samsung that damages shouldn't be based on the entire profit, but only part of the profit, as only part of the phone’s design was copied from Apple, namely the rounded-corner front face, bezel, and gridded icons.
Google, Facebook and HP also waded into the fight last year and sided with Samsung in the dispute. The firms argued that a decision against Samsung would have a "devastating impact on companies that spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components".
"In the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant ‘article of manufacture’ ... need not be the end product sold to the consumer but may be only a component of that product," justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, as reported by Reuters.
However, the Supreme Court didn't decide how damages should be calculated in this case, and instead, this will be decided by a lower court. Which essentially means that this never-ending patent battle, which first began back in 2011, is still showing no signs of coming to an end.
Neither Apple nor Samsung have yet commented on this latest ruling. µ
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