Apple won the appeal against Samsung at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but the court didn’t grant it everything he wanted. Indeed, judges found Samsung guilty of infringing some of its competitor’s design patterns, but declined to sanction the Korean tech giant for mimicking the look and feel of Apple smartphones.
So, the never-ending story continues since Apple may not be fully satisfied with the damages for patent infringements, although money is not a problem for the company. Initially, Apple was awarded more than $930 million but that sum will be significantly reduced after this Monday’s ruling.
Judges argued that giving Apple compensation for infringements related to aesthetic designs would set up a dangerous precedent and hinder innovation, just like Samsung suggested.
The court believes that every company has the right to a visual design that differentiates it from competition but not at the expense of “the fundamental right” of other companies to obtain competitive advantage by imitating their competitors’ products.
Since 2011, when this round of the patent war started, Samsung argued that granting Apple monopoly over “rectangles with rounded corner” was a sad display of how patent law could be “manipulated.”
But Apple tried to dodge that argument by saying that iPhones’ shape and squared apps were distinctive features that made its smartphones stand out of the crowd. Yet, judges turned one of Apple’s arguments against the company. They said that the design of app icons were not only visually attractive but also made the phone easier to use. So, other companies are as well entitled to promote similar visual designs in their innovative efforts.
The current lawsuit stems from a 4-year-long legal fight started by Apple by stating that Samsung Galaxy series infringed several design and app patents for its smartphones. Three years ago, a court ruled that Apple was right since its rival clearly copied iPhone’s innovative way of scrolling, tap-to-zoom feature and multi-touch gestures. The court also ruled that Samsung infringed the so called “trade dress” of iPhone, i.e. its visual features.
Although Apple wanted damages of $2.5 billion, it ended up with only $930 million, and this sum will be cut once more due to the latest decision.
For three years, Apple has been suing Samsung, which has been counter-suing Apple on various patent infringements in hopes that damages would be settled in their favor. Meanwhile, Apple has even attempted to ban from sale Samsung phones that infringed its patents and asked for an extra $707 million but it had no success.
Image Source: Uebergizmo