The long-running patent dispute between Apple and Samsung isn’t quite over yet, with both companies set to go before the highest US court tomorrow to hash out a conflict over additional money owed to Apple. Samsung has already handed over $548.2 million to Apple, and tomorrow the company will attempt to argue that it shouldn’t have to pay out all of the $399 million it owes for design patent infringement.
As with most patent cases, the details can get a little convoluted, but in somewhat simple terms, the $399 million Samsung still owes Apple is based on three cases of design patent infringement. At the center of this Supreme Court showdown are design patents for rounded corners, the iPhone’s bezel, and the grid of app icons that comprise the familiar smartphone homescreen.
According to Reuters, Samsung isn’t arguing that it didn’t infringe on these design patents, but rather that the $399 million it’s being told to pay is too much. That amount is the total profit made from the infringing devices, and Samsung plans to argue that it shouldn’t have to pay the full amount because those three designs were ultimately a small aspect of devices that used many more patents.
Samsung might have its work cut out for it, thanks to a provision in US patent law that serves as the basis for this penalty. That provision states that the offending party has to hand over the total profit made from infringing “articles of manufacture,” so Samsung and its lawyers might have a difficult time persuading the Supreme Court to go against a provision that’s already on the books.
Still, as Reuters points out, this is the first time the Supreme Court has heard arguments centered around design patents in more than 120 years, so perhaps the Court may see fit to tweak the existing laws a little bit. It’ll definitely be interesting to hear what the Supreme Court thinks of this latest chapter in the Apple vs. Samsung court battle, but we may not hear the Court’s opinion for quite some time – a decision on the matter isn’t due until the end of June 2017.