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Supreme Court Rules on Design Patent Damages
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al. v. Apple Inc.

On Dec. 6, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a damages award of $399 million that Apple won against Samsung in an ongoing design patent dispute.

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On Dec. 6, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a damages award of $399 million that Apple won against Samsung in an ongoing design patent dispute. Justice Sotomayor authored the opinion for the unanimous Court, holding that damages for design patent infringement may be based on an “article of manufacture” that is a component part of a commercial product and need not be tied to the entire commercial product as it is sold to the consumer. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. et al. v. Apple Inc., No. 15-777 (Dec. 6, 2016). The ruling promises to carry the Apple v. Samsung saga forward, because significant aspects of the damages calculation are left to the Federal Circuit and further briefing by the parties, including the crucial “test for identifying the relevant article of manufacture” on which damages for a design patent are based. Slip op. at 8.

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