The South Korean tech company Samsung was previously accused of stealing Apple’s iPhone designs and using them with their own phones. Apple sued Samsung for the profits they received from the phones they sold which used their supposed iPhone designs. Previously, an appeals court awarded Apple nearly $399 million and said that Samsung had to pay it. This led Samsung to appeal the case all the way up to the United States Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court made a surprising decision by going against the appeals court ruling. Now, Samsung no longer has to pay Apple the $399 million. This Supreme Court ruling was based on a unanimous 8-0 decision. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the ruling that an entity which violates a patent doesn’t always have to give up all the profits it received from selling their products which contained the stolen designs because these designs only make up one portion of the product and not the whole thing.
In other words, if Samsung had ripped off the interior components of the iPhone in addition to the exterior design, then the Supreme Court would have made them pay the $399 million. But since they only used the exterior design of Apple’s iPhone, they don’t have to pay all the profits back. As for how much Samsung now has to pay, that will be a decision left up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington. However, the justices did not give an outline for lower courts to follow as to how cases like these should be judged in the future.
Samsung and Apple are two of the biggest tech companies in the world. Apple, which is based in the United States, is known for their line of iPhones and iPads. The iPhone is the biggest selling smartphone in history, so it is no wonder why another company might want to use their patented designs. But the big question is, did Samsung mean to copy their design or was it just a coincidence? Samsung is a big company itself so it seems kind of silly that they’d be copying the patented designs of their competitors. Instead, they should be coming up with their own designs and competing with Apple.