Following a lengthy and extensive litigation that began in 2011 that culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in December of 2016, smartphone industry titans Apple and Samsung will again find themselves in Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh’s courtroom on remand to determine appropriate damages for Samsung’s infringement of Apple’s design patents.
As we have written before, Apple originally filed this patent infringement action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in 2011, alleging that, in relevant part, Samsung’s smartphones infringed three of Apple’s design patents. Judge Koh presided over the dispute. The jury found infringement of all three design patents, and the district court entered final judgment awarding $399 million attributable to Samsung’s infringement of the design patents. The Federal Circuit upheld the lower court’s judgment on the amount of damages for infringement of the design patents, and Samsung filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court seeking reversal.
The Supreme Court reversed, explaining that, within the meaning of a 35 U.S.C. § 289 damages inquiry, the phrase “article of manufacture” need not be limited to the end product sold to the consumer, but may be a smaller component of that product. Samsung Elecs. Co. v. Apple Inc., 137 S. Ct. 429 (2016). Had the jury been able to consider components of a smartphone as the article of manufacture, Samsung argued, the resulting damage award would have been smaller. The Supreme Court agreed and set aside the $399 million damage award, which represented the entire profit from the sale of the infringing Samsung smartphones.
Ten months after the Supreme Court decision and seven years after the litigation began, the saga continues. On October 22, 2017, Judge Koh ordered a second trial to determine appropriate damages in light of the Supreme Court decision. The parties were ordered to propose a schedule for a new trial by today, Wednesday, October 25.
We will continue to follow the developments of this case and provide updates as soon as they develop.