The patent war between Apple and Samsung resulted in Samsung turning over profits from Galaxy products to Apple based on patent infringements. The implications of the case motivated major tech companies including Dell, eBay, Facebook, Google, HP and others to form a coalition in a “friend of the court briefing” siding with Samsung, filed July 1 with a federal appeals court. The companies are concerned the ruling could subject the industry to more lawsuits, hinder future innovation, and limit customer choices across the entire tech sector.
Samsung was originally ordered to pay $1.05 billion to Apple; however, the court eliminated $382 million in “trade dress” infringements. The most recent decision sends the case back to California federal court to recalculate damages.
Given the nature of the technology within smartphones, it is “too complex to lump all of a products’ design and functionality elements into convenient legal definition of patent infringement case when only a select design element appears to have been copied,” reports InsideSources.
Companies and trade groups are concerned because “under the patents reasoning, the manufacturer of a smart television containing a component that infringed any single design patent could be required to pay in damages its total profit on the entire television, no matter how insignificant the design of the infringing feature was to the manufacturer’s profit or to consumer demand.”
Business Insider reports that, if the ruling were to stand “Apple could have a ‘perpetual monopoly’ of features which are needed for smartphone operation.” This has companies concerned, particularly Google, which is the designer of the Android mobile platform that runs on Samsung devices.
Apple responded to the court by stating Google “is not an impartial ‘friend of the court’ and should not be permitted to expand Samsung’s word limit under the guise of an amicus brief.”