Supreme Court Takes On Design Patent Damages

10 04 2016

Apple v. Samsung

Apple applied for and received two design patents covering design elements on the front face of the Apple iPhone. Apple then successfully sued Samsung for
infringement of these design patents. The jury awarded Apple damages in an amount equal to Samsung’s entire profits on its infringing smartphones. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit pointed to 35 U.S.C. 289, which states that the infringer shall be liable to the owner to the extent of his total profit.

The Supreme Court Steps In

Although the United Supreme Court has not ruled on a design patent case in over 120 years, the Supreme Court is taking up this one. The Supreme Court granted Samsung certiorari today, but just on the following issue:

“Where a design patent is applied to only a component of a product, should an award of infringer’s profits be limited to those profits attributable to the component?”

Apple obviously opposes the grant of certiorari in this case.



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