Samsung Loses Bid for Rehearing in Patent Appeal

Updated on

Samsung Electronics Co. was rebuffed in its request for reconsideration of whether it infringed Apple Inc.’s patented designs for smartphones.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington on Thursday denied a petition for a rehearing in the case, which was originally decided in May. A three-judge panel at that time upheld about $548 million worth of damages won by the iPhone maker. The case will now be sent back to the trial court in California to see the full amount Samsung will have to pay.

Samsung argued that the May decision was wrong on the finding of infringement of the designs, and for allowing damages to be based on Samsung’s entire profit rather than just a fraction of that amount.

The Korean handset maker was backed by companies including Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and EBay Inc., who said that the decision gave too much value to designs that covered only minor features of complex electronics, and would “lead to absurd results” in other cases.

The patents relate to the iPhone’s front face, overall appearance and graphical interface. Apple said the designs were critical to success of the products and that Samsung copied the Apple designs to transform “bulky, walkie-talkie-like boxes” into something that mimicked the iPhone.

The earlier decision wasn’t a complete victory for Cupertino, California-based Apple. The panel said the company wasn’t entitled to protection under U.S. trademark law, which stripped about $382 million from the original $920 million judgment.

‘Revolutionary Innovations’

The appeals court still has to rule on a second trial involving different Apple patents. There are two appeals in that case. One is over the underlying liability finding and a second, argued in March, is over whether Apple is entitled to an order blocking sales of some Samsung products based on the infringement finding.

Samsung said it was disappointed in the court’s decision and pointed to its own history of new ideas.

“For decades, we have invested heavily in developing revolutionary innovations in the mobile industry and beyond,” Danielle Meister Cohen, a spokeswoman for Samsung, said in an e-mailed statement.

“We are confident that our products do not infringe on Apple’s design patents, and we will continue to take appropriate measures to protect our products and our intellectual property,” said Meister Cohen.

‘Beloved Products’

Rachel Wolf, an Apple spokeswoman, repeated an earlier company statement that the ruling reinforced that Samsung “willfully stole our ideas and copied our products.”

“We are fighting to defend the hard work that goes into beloved products like the iPhone, which our employees devote their lives to designing and delivering for our customers,” Wolf said.

Together, decisions in the two trials will set the parameters that the companies can use to finally resolve litigation that’s been going on since 2011.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 14-1335, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 11cv1846, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose).

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE