Apple vs Samsung case over damage from iPhone design infringement must be reconsidered

Samsung has filed a new case over the damages it must pay to Apple over the patent infringement over the iPhone’s design. Samsung is trying to further reduce the amount of the original $1 billion.

Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District Court of California has promised a new amount of damages at Samsung’s request. Apple and Samsung have until October 25 to set a date for the case.

Samsung’s argument for the request relates to the interpretation of the term ‘article of manufacture’. In 2012, the jury found Samsung guilty of infringing design patents for Apple’s iPhone. The Korean electronics giant had to pay more than a billion dollars in damages. In later cases, that amount was already reduced to $399 million, partly due to mistakes made by the jury.

However, the jury was not asked to consider whether the ‘relevant manufactured article’ involved in the case was a very functional telephone. According to Samsung, the term could also refer to parts, such as just the housing. The question is relevant because the compensation is based on the sale of entire smartphones by Samsung.

A federal judge largely dismissed Samsung’s argument in 2016, ruling that consumers don’t buy parts, but a functional smartphone. However, the Supreme Court, the highest American court, agreed with Samsung and pointed out that it had been determined what exactly the ‘article of manufacture’ in the case was.

Apple, Samsung and the US Department of Justice were then able to make proposals on how to determine what fell under the term. Judge Koh has accepted the Ministry of Justice’s proposal. That proposal consists of a number of properties that must be taken into account when determining what the ‘relevant manufactured article’ is to which the design patent relates. Part of that list is the relationship of the proprietary design with the rest of the product, including the presence of a part that the purchaser can physically separate from the product or be sold separately. That writes Foss Patents in an analysis about the decision to retake the case.

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