Samsung Asks the U.S. Supreme Court to Hear the Apple <i>v.</i> Samsung Design Case
December 14, 2015 – Ridgefield Park, N.J. – Today, Samsung Electronics filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Justices to review the way that design patent laws have been applied in its smartphone litigation with Apple. If the Court takes the case, it will be the first time that the Court has heard a case on design patents in more than a century.
Samsung is escalating this case because it believes that the way the laws were interpreted is not in line with modern times. If the current legal precedent stands, it could diminish innovation, stifle competition, pave the way for design patent troll litigation and negatively impact the economy and consumers.
Samsung’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court centers on two main aspects of design patent law – the scope of design patents and the damages design patent holders can obtain.
First, design patents include drawings that are not entirely covered by the patent. Samsung believes that like art, the scope of a design patent is too open to interpretation without proper guidance. The company is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to require that judges provide more guidance to juries on the proper interpretation and application of the protected design, similar to the Markman hearing for utility patents.
Second, Samsung believes that awarding the total profit on an entire product for a single design patent on a small portion of the product protects and compensates design patent holders well beyond any inventive contribution of the design to the product. Such unjustified windfalls could hamper the progress of science, which the U.S. patent system was originally created to protect.
When design patent law was created, products were much simpler; a design patent covered things like the handle of a spoon or a carpet pattern, which may have driven a purchase decision. Today, a cell phone can use 250,000 design and utility patents. Based on the current legal precedent, if just one of the design patents is infringed, the patent owner can obtain all of the product’s profit. Samsung believes this devalues the contributions of the hundreds of thousands of other patents, encourages form over function, allows for excessive awards and can enable a wave of opportunistic lawsuits.
While Samsung prefers to compete in the marketplace, not the courtroom, the company feels that it is important to appeal this case to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of all U.S. companies, big and small, that could be affected if this legal precedent stands. When the case was in the Federal Circuit, several of the world’s largest technology companies and leading public policy groups filed amicus briefs in support of Samsung.
Samsung has a long history of disrupting existing markets with ground-breaking innovations. The company has introduced numerous world’s first products across the home appliance, home entertainment, mobile and wearable categories. Samsung is the largest patent holder in the U.S.
A copy of Samsung’s cert petition is available upon request.
About Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
Headquartered in Ridgefield Park, N.J., Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (SEA), is a recognized innovation leader in consumer electronics design and technology. A wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., SEA delivers a broad range of digital consumer electronics, mobile products and wearables, wireless infrastructure, IT and home appliance products. Samsung is the market leader for Android mobile products and HDTVs in the U.S and one of America’s fastest growing home appliance brands. To discover more, please visit www.samsung.com.
About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies that redefine the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, cameras, digital appliances, printers, medical equipment, network systems, and semiconductor and LED solutions. We are also leading in the Internet of Things space with the open platform SmartThings, our broad range of smart devices, and through proactive cross-industry collaboration. We employ 319,000 people across 84 countries with annual sales of US $196 billion. To discover more, and for the latest news, feature articles and press material, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at news.samsung.com.