Federal Circuit dismisses Samsung’s en banc request

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Illustration (360b / Shutterstock.com)

Illustration (360b / Shutterstock.com)

Acaciapat.com - Samsung has been rebuffed in its attempt to overturn a $548 million infringement ruling after the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit refused to hear the case en banc.

Despite support from companies in the technology industry including Google, Facebook, HP and Dell, the federal circuitheld firm and upheld its ruling from earlier this year that Samsung infringed three of Apple’s design patents.

The federal circuit rejected Samsung’s request on Thursday, August 13.

At the centre of the dispute are three design patents owned by Apple.

Two of the three patents cover the outer shape of a smart phone with curved corners and straight sides and the third covers the “graphical user interface” on the iPhone.

In 2012, the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Samsung had infringed the design patents.

That decision formed part of a wider $930 million infringement ruling against Samsung which also saw the Korea-based company fined for trade dress dilution.

But in May 2015, after Samsung appealed against the decision, the federal circuit’s three-judge panel vacated the $382 million from the ruling that was related to trade dress dilution and asked the district court to review it again.

The federal circuit upheld the damages award centring on the three design patents meaning Samsung’s total fine stood at $548 million.

Samsung had asked for an en banc ruling in June and claimed that the patents should be declared invalid because some of the protected designs are functional.

Of the $548 million, $399 million covered the profits made from products that were found to have infringed the patents.

Citing section 289 of the US Code the court found Samsung liable for damages based on the total profits made.

Under that section, an infringer is liable for the “total profit” of the sale of any “article of manufacture” that infringes another party’s design patents.

Last month, Google, Facebook and other technology companies voiced their support for Samsung and said that the federal circuit should interpret section 289 to focus only on components directly affected by the design patents and “not the smart phone as a whole”.

In a jointly filed amicus brief, the companies said: “If allowed to stand, that decision will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies, including amici, who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components.”

Samsung had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication but a spokesperson told technology news website CNET that it is “disappointed” with the decision.

“We are confident that our products do not infringe Apple’s design patents, and we will continue to take appropriate measures to protect our products and our intellectual property,” the spokesperson added.

Source : World IP Review