The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Samsung in its long-running legal dispute with Apple for infringing on the design of the iPhone. The case is far from over, however, as the high court deferred back to lower courts to have the original award for damages reexamined.
As The Wall Street Journal recounts, jurors in 2012 found that 11 smartphone models from Samsung infringed on various Apple design patents. The South Korean electronics giant was ordered to pay a $399 million award to Apple as a result but Samsung – and many others in the tech community – disagreed with how that sum was calculated.
Apple and various supporters including Crocs Inc., Tiffany & Co. and Adidas AG argued that it was entitled to all of the profits generated by Samsung’s infringing devices. Samsung, meanwhile, felt it shouldn’t have to hand over all profits from those devices seeing as just a small portion of the overall complex device was found to be infringing.
Writing on behalf of the unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the holder of a design patent isn’t always entitled to the total profits on an infringed device sold to consumers. In the case of a multi-component device like a smartphone, a patent holder sometimes may only be entitled to the profits attributed to a specific component (in this case, the screen and case design of the 11 phones) of said infringing device.
Rather than apply its ruling to the case, the high court instead said a lower court should figure that out.