Apple's Lengthy Lawsuit With Samsung Over Copying iPhone's Design Headed Back to Court

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Apple's over six year old legal battle with Samsung for copying the iPhone's design is headed back to court yet again.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Sunday ordered that a new trial is required to determine whether Apple's $399 million award for Samsung's design patent infringement should stand or whether a new damages trial is required.


Apple and Samsung have until Wednesday to propose a retrial date, according to intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, but he believes there is about a 30 percent chance the two parties could settle out of court before then.

The lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple successfully sued Samsung for infringing upon the iPhone's patented design, including its rectangular front face with rounded edges and grid of colorful icons on a black screen.

Apple's damages were awarded based on Samsung's entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones, but Samsung argued that the amount should be a percentage based on individual components like the front bezel or display.

Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court recommended that the U.S. Court of Appeals reconsider the damages amount that Samsung owes.

Apple's statement at the time:
The question before the Supreme Court was how to calculate the amount Samsung should pay for their copying. 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.
Calvin Klein, Dieter Rams, and over 100 other top designers backed Apple last year, arguing the iPhone maker is entitled to all profits Samsung has earned from infringing designs. They cited a 1949 study stating that more than 99 percent of Americans could identify a bottle of Coca-Cola by shape alone.

Apple was initially awarded nearly $1 billion in damages, but a significant part of the decision was reversed in 2015, leaving Samsung owing $548 million. The amount was eventually lowered to $399 million in subsequent retrials.

Article Link: Apple's Lengthy Lawsuit With Samsung Over Copying iPhone's Design Headed Back to Court
 

840quadra

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Feb 1, 2005
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Twin Cities Minnesota
While this case is old, it will help set precedent for cases like this going forward, and could be used to protect other companies from similar types of situations. I see a few posts even on the Android side where people claim one company copied the other, often on products within the same market.

Hopefully it finally gets resolved though.
 
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HowieIsaacks

macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2013
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Addison, TX
I wish I was one of the attorneys working on this case! What bothers me the most about this case is that it seems to be impossible for Apple to get justice in this case, but patent trolls can win much more quickly. WTF! At least Apple is producing products instead of sitting on (often outdated and vague) patents.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
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Georgia
There needs to be a limit on retrials. At some point the system needs to set a final ruling. Lawsuits are just ridiculously long.
 
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usarioclave

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2003
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How do you calculate the damages? That's tough, but it should be based on a percentage of profits of the infringer, not on actual damages. Why?

Let's put it this way: if the design wasn't copied what would the sales be? Look at blackberry and Nokia for that: they didn't copy the iPhone and they both died.

Without the iPhone UI you wouldn't be able to sell a phone, period.

One question is: why is samsung the culprit, not google? Did google not indemnify android licensees?
 

WannaGoMac

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Feb 11, 2007
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By the time its done will be $0 to Apple, and once again it's the lawyers who win :p
 

foobarbaz

macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2007
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So, if I copy Coke's bottle design, and say the bottle is free with the purchase of the contained liquid, I don't have to pay any damages.

Brilliant argument.
 
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gsmornot

macrumors 68040
Sep 29, 2014
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I can predict Samsung (nor anyone else) will copy the notch. Apple took care of the issue by making something no-one wants to copy. I'm all for OLED but a thin chin would have been just fine. Maybe we settle this by copying a little in the reverse direction.
 

Superhappytree

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2015
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Well I’ll give Samsung this; at least their phones look a whole lot different from iPhones these days which even die hard Apple fans seem to praise. I still think their curved ‘Edges’ are ergonomically horrible though and are nothing but a nuisance from the experience I’ve had with them.
 
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Wondercow

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Aug 27, 2008
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Toronto, Canada
I wish I was one of the attorneys working on this case! What bothers me the most about this case is that it seems to be impossible for Apple to get justice in this case, but patent trolls can win much more quickly. WTF! At least Apple is producing products instead of sitting on (often outdated and vague) patents.
What do patent trolls have to do with this case?
 

Jsameds

Suspended
Apr 22, 2008
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Regardless of the outcome, Samsung have already won. The fine (if there ever is one) will be utterly eclipsed by the profits they have made in the smartphone industry in the last decade and going forward.

It was a business strategy and sadly it worked.
 

convergent

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May 6, 2008
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There was a generation of Samsung phones that it was clear they were trying to mimic the iPhone. I recall seeing photos of a store they setup that was almost a mirror copy of an Apple Store. But, sticking with the phone design, it was uncharted territory at that time. What exactly can be patented in a visual design for a phone, when they all look so similar? The court settled that, punished Samsung, and they've moved on... clearly.

Samsung and Apple have sued each other back and forth, and also partner on things. Given that for several generations now Samsung phones, as well as their UI, look nothing like Apple's design, and have surpassed Apple in many areas. Time to move on. Of course it helps when Apple does several generations of phones that look nearly identical and Samsung changes their design ever cycle. I just hope Samsung doesn't lose their mind and try to copy any part of the X design.
 

Aleh

macrumors member
Sep 11, 2013
73
150
There was a generation of Samsung phones that it was clear they were trying to mimic the iPhone. I recall seeing photos of a store they setup that was almost a mirror copy of an Apple Store. But, sticking with the phone design, it was uncharted territory at that time. What exactly can be patented in a visual design for a phone, when they all look so similar? The court settled that, punished Samsung, and they've moved on... clearly.

Samsung and Apple have sued each other back and forth, and also partner on things. Given that for several generations now Samsung phones, as well as their UI, look nothing like Apple's design, and have surpassed Apple in many areas. Time to move on. Of course it helps when Apple does several generations of phones that look nearly identical and Samsung changes their design ever cycle. I just hope Samsung doesn't lose their mind and try to copy any part of the X design.
Changes the design at every cycle? The S6 and S7 were identical basically and the S8 is more similar to the S7 than the X is to the 7
 

jhs571

macrumors newbie
Oct 23, 2017
1
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That "rectangle" with an all-glass front and no physical keyboard was a radical phone design that Apple took a HUGE risk on in 2007... and was deemed doomed to fail when Steve Jobs revealed it. The design is rightly patented and any company that copies that design SHOULD PAY hefty licensing fees to use it. No idea why it's taking so long for justice to be served.