An appeals court has handed Apple a bittersweet win in its ongoing legal battle with Samsung over design patents. While the court upheld a previous decision that Samsung did copy specific design patents from Apple’s iPhone, the court disagreed with another ruling, and has sent the case back to trial for a reassessment of the damages.
This partial win for Apple could end up having serious financial repercussions for both parties. The court, which specializes in patent cases, overturned the jury’s conclusion that Samsung willfully copied some of Apple’s key phone designs — known as ‘trade dress’ law that covers a device’s individual and distinctive design, such as the shape of the icons, and rounded corners of the device — to help sell its own products.
The three judge panel wrote “We therefore vacate the jury’s damages awards against the Samsung products that were found liable for trade dress dilution and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
Naturally, both parties see this as good news. Josh Rosenstock, a spokesperson for Apple claimed the decision, “Confirmed Samsung blatantly copied Apple products.” Samsung said it welcomed the decision and stated it remains confident its products do not infringe on any design patents.
However, now the damages are to be reassessed, things could swing in Samsung’s favor. Having been cleared of the trade dress infringement, Samsung is arguing the damages should now be reduced by $382 million. This would be the second time the total damages from the original 2013 case will have fallen. Initially set at $1.05 billion, the figure became $930 million during a retrial. If Samsung wins next time, it could fall to around $550 million.
No date for the next stage of this epic, ongoing legal battle has been set.