Appeals Court Overturns Key Finding in Samsung v. Apple

Samsung v. Apple court case takes a new turn as appeals court rules that $382 million of the $930 million amount could be overturned.

In a happy turn of events for Samsung, the $930 million that they owed Apple might get reduced by up to $382 million.

The story ultimately begins in 2011, when Apple filed a lawsuit against Samsung, accusing it of violating the company’s patents on the iPhone. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion by the jury, after winning the trial in 2012. The story continues into March of 2013, though, as US District Court Judge Lucy Koh reduced the award by $450.5 million, only to be later increased again by a jury, ultimately landing the amount at $930 million.

As much as you or I would be, Samsung wasn’t happy about this, so they filed an appeal to the court. On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that Apple cannot protect the design of its phones, ordering a lower court to reevaluate that portion of the bill. Overall, the new turn of events could save Samsung 40%, or $382 million.

Patent law states that the designs can only be protected under the law if they perform a strictly non-functional purpose.

The patents that Samsung infringed on included basic functional elements such as a rectangular product with four rounded corners, and a transparent surface on the front of the device with a display beneath it. Because the design elements are functional as well as aesthetic, the appeals court found that they are not protected under the patent laws. A lower court will now decide how much of the $382 million amount deserves to be shaved off, if not all of it.

The war between these two companies, however, is about a lot more than money. The large sums of cash are not going to impact either company in any significant way. Samsung and Apple are fighting for their image. By winning this lawsuit, Apple has already established themselves as the lead innovator that other phone companies just aspire to duplicate.

Apple has already alluded to motive: “This case has always been about more than money,” said Josh Rosenstock, spokesman for Apple. “It’s about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love, which is hard to put a price on.”


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Daniel Heppner
Daniel Heppner
My big interests are photography, IT, and electronics. I like to get out the soldering iron and build things for my house that light up. I've traveled around the world taking pictures and consider the viewfinder an extension of my eyeball. I build computers for myself and friends for fun, and have experience with software programming. I have experience programming underwater robots for robotics competitions, as well as wiring up the circuitry for them.