Last week the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the never-ending patent battle between Samsung Electronics and Apple. In this iteration of fighting between these two giant tech companies Apple, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a $400 million design patent infringement award. Samsung appealed to the Supreme Court.
The question before the Supreme Court relates to 35 U.S.C. 289 and whether it is appropriate to apportion damages under that statute. The statute is quite clear on the subject, and if the Supreme Court limits itself to the explicit wording of the statute apportionment would be inappropriate and Apple will hold on to the $400 million design patent infringement award. During oral arguments, however, many of the Justices seemed skeptical. Justice Kennedy even hinted at the possibility of a de minimus exception, which leaves many wonder whether the Supreme Court will judicially re-write the statute or use some other contrived judicial exception to significantly reduce Apple’s damage award.
Design patents have become increasingly important over the last decade as the standard for proving design patent infringement has veered toward the substantial observer test familiar in copyright litigation. This has lead many large corporations, such as automakers and shoe companies, like Nike, to generously file on new designs. Should the Supreme Court rule against Apple the decision would have far reaching implications well outside of this mammoth battle of smartphone giants.
Against this backdrop, on Thursday, October 20, 2016, from 2pm to 3pm ET, Gene Quinn will host a free webinar discussion that will explore the genesis of the patent battle between Apple and Samsung, focusing on the design patent infringement fight currently at the United States Supreme Court. In addition to taking as many questions from the audience as possible, we will:
- Ask the question “how did we get here” and provide a business/tech perspective on the battle.
- Provide a quick primer on design patents and the test for determining if there is infringement.
- Discuss the positions taken by Apple, Samsung and the Solicitor General at the Supreme Court.
- Make predictions regarding what the Supreme Court will ultimately decide.