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Facebook, eBay, And Google Side With Samsung Against Apple

Some of the world's biggest tech companies are picking sides in Apple vs. Samsung.

Posted on July 20, 2015, at 8:03 p.m. ET

Apple / Via

Google, Facebook, and eBay are supporting Samsung's objection to the court decision ordering it to fork over profits from smartphones found to infringe upon certain Apple patents.

It's the latest development in a long-running intellectual property war that culminated in 2012, when a jury found Samsung guilty of infringing on a handful of Apple's design and utility patents for the iPhone. The jury originally awarded Apple $929 million in damages, an amount that was later reduced by $382 million.

Samsung is now seeking a review of that decision. And a coalition of companies that have a stake in protecting their own smartphones, software, and related IP — Google, Facebook, eBay, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Limelight Networks, NewEgg, and the SAS Institute — have submitted a "friends of the court" brief in support of Samsung's petition. (This isn't Google's first time doing this; in 2013, it joined HTC, Red Hat, SAP, and Rackspace in a similar filing.)

Submitted on July 1 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the filing, first spotted by InsideSources, argues that the decision to award a portion of Samsung's smartphone profits to Apple "will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies, including [the companies in the filing], who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components."

Samsung has argued that since the design patents in question apply to select features of the iPhone, it should not have to pay damages based on the value of the entire device. Google and the supporting companies agree, saying that "the panel's decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user and it was the thousands of other features, implemented across the remainder of the software, that drove the demand generating those profits."

Separately, on Monday, Apple filed an objection to Samsung's request for a rehearing, restating its argument that the patents in question are crucial to the look and feel of the iPhone.

"Rather than create its own innovative look, Samsung appropriated Apple's," Apple attorneys wrote. "Almost overnight, Samsung's smartphone products transformed from bulky, walkie-talkie-like boxes into sleek, streamlined, narrow rectangles that mimicked the iPhone's appearance."

Apple declined comment on the filing. Samsung did not immediately return a request for comment.

This post has been updated to note that InsideSources first spotted the petition.

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