Apple’s $930 million reduced by court in Samsung case

Remember when Apple won its lawsuit against Samsung in 2012 for infringing upon its patents? Well, they’re still arguing about it and while the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reaffirmed that Samsung most certainly copied the iPhone, an opinion filed by the court today declares that Apple will receive less than the $930 million originally proposed for damages. The new settlement was not contained in the judgement.

The court’s interpretation focused on trade dresses and specifically said “we reverse the jury’s findings that the asserted trade dresses are protect-able.” Now the 38-pages of legalese describe trade dresses as “the totality of elements in which a product or service is packaged or presented.” Essentially, trademarks, and in this case the court was weighing features that were functional and non-functional. Which for Apple’s iPhone included:

  • A rectangular product with four evenly rounded corners
  • A flat, clear surface covering the front of the product
  • A display screen under the clear surface
  • Black borders above and below the display, and narrower borders on either side
  • When the device is on, a row of small dots on the display screen, a matrix of colorful square icons with evenly rounded corners within the display screen, and an unchanging bottom dock of colorful square icons with evenly rounded corners set off from the display’s other icons.

As an afterthought, aside from the last point, those other characteristics could apply to quite a few electronics, but the short of it is that Apple had the burden of proof this time around and failed, so now the decision for a fresh damage figure will be kicked back to a lower court.

As the legal battle’s three-year anniversary approaches, it’s amusing to note that the devices which fueled this fiasco, the Galaxy S II and the iPhone 4, are now woefully obsolete. For Samsung, there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here, so it’s worth the fight, but it makes you wonder, what have the companies cumulatively spent on legal fees up to this point?

With this latest ruling, Samsung will definitely pay Apple, but the question is how much? How do you see this playing out? Let us know in the comments below.