Samsung was found to have infringed upon a few of Apple’s key design patents for the iPhone. The Korean company has argued that some patents were invalid while Apple has been trying to maximize the damages it could gain from its 2011 suit, saying that the whole is greater than just the sum of its parts. At one point, the Supreme Court was involved, but all it did was toss the case back to district court for damages.
The key question it wanted Judge Lucy Koh to facilitate a debate on? What is the “article of manufacture” that a patent applies to — the part of the product it covers or the whole?
So, we return to the San Jose theater and now have another trial. If Samsung gets its way, it may pay only millions of dollars or pennies on the patent. If Apple convinces the jury of its case, it’ll have more than $1 billion to pocket.
“Design is what ties it all together,” said Bill Lee, Apple attorney. “The end result was revolutionary.”
Apple’s main thrust is that it has lost revenue on whole iPhones because consumers could have taken a shine to Samsung’s phone, the patented parts of which it had copied from Apple.
CNET reports that while there are two utility patents that were infringed upon, the company is only asking for $5 million. However, Apple is pushing three design patents for the $1 billion pot. Patent D618,677 (art pictured above) describes a self-evident electronic device.
Lee called it “a wonderful example of how a distinctive design can bring together everything into a central design that can be used simply and intuitively.”
Keep in mind that Apple had targeted early Galaxy S phones with its original suit.
Samsung attorney John Quinn reiterated his client’s main argument and noted that there were other reasons that drove sales of the Galaxy phones.
“The reason sales took off is because Samsung switched to the Google Android operating system. That and other innovations that Samsung made, like 4G capability, larger screens, faster processors and the ability to use all cellular carriers, not just AT&T,” Quinn said. “That is what drove Samsung sales.”
Where does the meritocracy take hold? It depends on how the jury — and we should note that it is very hard to find local peers in Silicon Valley that know nothing of Apple and Samsung these days — sees it.