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Supreme Court Sides With Samsung In Patent War With Apple

The justices ordered the case to be resettled by a lower court, throwing out a $399 million judgment against Samsung for infringing on Apple's iPhone patents.

Posted on December 6, 2016, at 11:08 a.m. ET

Jung Yeon-je / AFP / Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Samsung in a years-long patent battle pitting the Korean manufacturer against Apple over the value of design — specifically the design of the iPhone.

In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled 8-0 to have the case resettled by a lower court, throwing out a $399 million judgment against Samsung for infringing on three of Apple's design patents for the iPhone.

Samsung was successful in convincing the court that it should not have to pay the full amount, which comes from the total profits Samsung banked from eleven of its phone models that mimicked the iPhone's design. Instead, Samsung argued, the company should only pay for the value of the individual parts that it copied, not the entire value of the phone.

The Supreme court agreed, ruling that damages awarded in a design patent case can be based on individual components as well as the entire product. Rather than decide the exact dollar amount Samsung should owe, the justices sent the case back down to the lower court, giving Samsung another chance to argue for a smaller penalty.


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