Apple Loses Supreme Court Battle With Samsung Over Smartphones

Apple is the leader at many things, but Samsung just delivered a major blow to the iPhone creator in a sweeping Supreme Court ruling that will allow it to pay much less in compensation from damages awarded to Apple for copyright infringement.

Apple had previously been awarded $930 million by an appeals court after a lawsuit against Samsung for alleged copyright infringement on Apple’s patent for its iPhone. But now, according to Reuters, the Supreme Court has delivered a sweeping blow to Apple with a reversal of that decision in an 8 – 0 ruling against the lawsuit that Apple had previously won.

In a judgment handed down by the Supreme Court against Apple, Justice Sonia Sotomayor detailed that such a patent by a company like Apple does indeed have grounds to seek damages awarded to the company, but it does not have the right to take all of the earnings from Samsung with so many smaller details that the company was found liable for in the patent infringement case.

The basic details of the case between Apple and Samsung are quite complicated, but rather detailed to the point that Samsung has already paid $548 million to Apple in damages that were sought out after Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone had features on it that were unique to Apple and violated the design patent that Apple had on their own iPhone devices.

The original judgment against Samsung back in 2012 awarded Apple $930 million in damages but was later reduced in excess of $382 million that Samsung, a South Korean company, claims they shouldn’t have had to pay due to the Galaxy smartphone not being solely copied from Apple’s iPhone.

The $548 million that Samsung has already given to Apple from the lawsuit was paid in December 2015. But the Supreme Court victory by Samsung now eliminates $399 million of that payment, and it has been sent back to a court of appeals in Washington for a more appropriate number that is more befitting of the judgment against Samsung.

But there was something missing from the Supreme Court ruling that is slightly out of character for the governing body as a whole. Usually, in case like this, a roadmap will have been laid out for future cases to use as precedent in regards to other lawsuits to follow. That roadmap was not provided by the Supreme Court in this decision.

The case between Apple and Samsung has been one of the most widely reported and watched events of recent years within the smartphone and technology sector. The Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy have long been the world’s leading devices in the market for consumers, and the case ended up finding Samsung guilty of copyright and patent infringement, thus leading to it becoming the top-selling smartphone maker in the world. This was the result after Samsung copied its Galaxy after designs by Apple’s iPhone.

Richard McKenna, who is an expert in design rights at the law firm of Foley & Lardner, spoke about the issue at hand for tech companies and the role the Supreme Court will play in their rights as manufacturers in the United States

“No doubt whether with Apple-Samsung, or some other design patent case, we are going to have a period of uncertainty where courts will be trying to formulate a test and what the boundaries are,” McKenna told Reuters.

Apple claimed in court papers that their iPhone’ innovative designs were directly linked to the success they have achieved on the global stage as the premier smartphone maker in the world.

The initial lawsuit between Apple and Samsung was a major defining point for tech manufacturers to bring justice to those who attempt to steal the designs of other developers for their own profits and may set a precedent on the national stage once it reaches its summit.

[Featured Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]

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