Apple gets partial win on appeal in Samsung patent case

Mon May 18, 2015 2:51pm EDT
 
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By Andrew Chung and Julia Love

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) was handed a mixed ruling by a U.S. appeals court in the latest twist in a blockbuster intellectual property battle with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS: Quote), as a prior patent infringement verdict was upheld but a trademark finding that the iPhone's appearance could be protected was thrown out.

That means up to 40 percent of a $930 million verdict which had been won by Apple must be reconsidered.

In the highly anticipated ruling stemming from the global smartphone wars, the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. upheld patent infringement violations including one which protects the shape and color of its iPhone as well as the damages awarded for those violations.

"This is a victory for design and those who respect it," Apple said in a statement on Monday. A Samsung representative declined immediately comment.

The long-running dispute with Samsung dates back to when former Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs was still alive and was seen as emblematic of his tendency to fiercely defend the company's proprietary designs and technology from copies.

Although the opinion was mixed, it tilts strongly in Apple’s favor, upholding the bulk of its damages award and reinforcing the principles of design that the company sued to advance, said Brian Love, an assistant professor of law at the University of Santa Clara.

“They made this argument from the beginning of the case that they were sort of the true innovators in the smartphone world, and that although a lot of this technology existed in the past, they came up with very simple, elegant and easy-to-use design that took the smartphone to the next level,” he said. “To the extent that it was protected, it was protected by these design patents.”

The 2012 trial between the two smartphone titans was widely watched, and the jury found Samsung violated several Apple patents including those related to iPhone's design and appearance.   Continued...

 
A woman holding an Apple iPhone passes a Samsung Galaxy S6 advertisement at a mall in Singapore April 24, 2015. Samsung is expected to announce Q1 results this week. Picture taken April 24, 2015.  REUTERS/Edgar Su