Apple and Samsung to face again in the federal court

Smartphone giants Apple and Samsung are back in federal court. The companies will continue their dispute on patent infringement. The dispute began in 2011. The outcome will determine how much in financial damages Samsung owes Apple.

In proceedings of 2012, as quoted by Verge, a jury found that –

All three of Apple’s software patents on the iOS user interface were valid and infringed by a long list of Samsung devices, that Apple design patents were valid and infringed by several Samsung phones, and that Apple’s trade dress on the iPhone and iPhone 3G were diluted by several Samsung phones.

Ruling the infringement to be willful, the Jury said that Samsung must pay $1.05 billion to Apple. However, after a 2013 retrial and other appeals, the financial damages were reduced. Currently, the dispute is worth over roughly $400 million that Samsung was ordered to pay over the design patent infringement. Samsung’s lawyers have argued that the damage amount should not be based on the profit of the entire device. Instead, it should be based on a portion, as only part of the phone was found to have infringed Apple’s design patents.

A 2016 Supreme Court decision (8-0) said that the damages could be decided either way – the entire phone or a portion of it – and sent the case back to federal court for a jury to decide.

The companies had to go back to San Jose, California federal court. The Judge who presided over a previous retrial instituted a “Groundhog Day” rule. The rule means –

No new evidence can be introduced and the jury must not re-adjudicate the initial verdict that Samsung was found to have infringed on Apple’s patents.

According to Bloomberg, the three specific design patents pertain to “rectangular shape, rounded corners and black glass of the iPhone’s front face”. The jury must now ascertain if the damages should be conferred on a percentage of profits based on the whole device or a portion of the device, for the above three infringements.

For the two utility patents, there is a different formulation to determine the damages. These two utility features are – the bounce-back scrolling and pinch-to-zoom.

All the proceeding in the case is based on a patent law written in 1887. The trial is expected to last five days, according to USA Today.

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