Samsung wins a landmark patent case this week against its biggest competitor, Apple. The US Supreme Court has handed the decision and voted unanimously for Samsung. The case revolved around infringement of design and functionality patents filed by Apple against Samsung, which it says has been 'copying' almost every Apple product release.
The US Supreme Court's decision was based on the fact that patent infringement can only be based per design; not on the whole product. It is Apple's argument that Samsung deliberately copies every Apple product, inside and out, and releases their own versions with minor tweaks.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor says that the only argument that should be addressed "is whether, in the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant 'article of manufacture' must always be the end product sold to the consumer or whether it can also be a component of that product."
The court ruling, as is stated on the official release, concludes that infringement cannot occur on the "end product sold to the consumer but may be only a component of that product."
Samsung lauds the Supreme Court's decision and a company representative says that "Today is a victory for Samsung and for all those who promote creativity, innovation and fair competition in the marketplace." On Samsung's official statement, it also took the opportunity to thank its supporters that range from those in leading technology companies, to their 50 intellectual property professors, and public policy groups who stood by them through the trial.
Apple says in a statement that the Supreme Court was wrong in only focusing on how much damages Samsung should be paying for infringement. The company representative further explains, "Our case has always been about Samsung's blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute. We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world's most innovative and beloved product. We remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right."
Following the US Supreme Court decision, the case will be brought back to the lower courts on the basis of calculating damages.
Based on current law, an infringing device's entire profits should be handed to the infringed company. Since 2012, Samsung has been losing big time in the patent war against Apple. Just last year, Samsung paid $399 million to Apple. This amount was based on Samsung having sold 10.7 million 'infringing' devices, earning the company an income of $3.5 billion. The payout went down to $399 because of this being the "additional remedy" amount as found on Section 289 of the Patent Act of 1952.
Because of Samsung's win this week, damages may significantly go down-- or be told it owes nothing at all.
The complete official ruling can be accessed for free on Scribd.