The 3-year-old, back-and-forth patent war between Samsung Electronics and Apple is back in court, this time with Samsung appealing a $930 million patent infringement award that it was ordered to pay to Apple back in August 2012.
Samsung's appeal of the award was filed Dec. 4 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., according to a story by Reuters. The appeal asks the court to throw out an August 2012 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, which had ordered Samsung to pay Apple $930 million for infringing on Apple patents. That sum had been lowered from an original $1.05 billion award. The lawsuit involved infringements of features used in the company's Galaxy smartphones.
An attorney for Samsung, Kathleen Sullivan, "argued that the lower court erred in deciding that the design and trade dress patents were infringed because the Samsung phones did not carry an Apple logo, did not have a 'home' button like an iPhone and had speaker slots in different places than the Apple phones," Reuters reported.
Such a huge award means Samsung essentially has to pay Apple "Samsung's total profits on those [Samsung] phones, which was absurd," Sullivan told the court, according to Reuters. That penalty, she said, is akin to awarding entire profits on a car because of an infringing cup holder, the story reported.
Apple's attorney, William Lee, countered that the infringements by Samsung amounted to much more than an errant cup holder, the story reported. "What Samsung is actually asking you to do ... is to substitute yourself for Judge Koh and the jury," he told the court, according to the report.
The three-judge panel did not say they when will have a decision on the appeal, according to Reuters.
The Samsung-Apple patent fight has had lots of ups and downs in recent years as the two tech superpowers have been fighting over innovations and features in their respective devices.
In August, the legal fight appeared to be lessening somewhat when Samsung and Apple agreed to at least end their legal fights internationally, which reduced the number of battles they enjoined around the world, according to an earlier eWEEK report. That armistice did not, however, include the United States, where their legal fight continues.
After losing the original August 2012 case, Samsung distributed an internal memo that clearly stated that it would not give up on its legal fight against the allegations. The memo said that the original California court decision starkly contrasted with similar decisions made by courts in other countries where the infringement allegations were not successful.
The Samsung memo said that the company would continue to work to prove that its products were based on original designs that contain its own innovations.
For both companies, the stakes are truly huge because of the case's implications for competition in the multibillion-dollar mobile device market.
Samsung and Apple are the first and second best-selling smartphone vendors in the market, respectively, according to figures from research firm IDC.
The original August 2012 jury verdict in California found that Samsung infringed on Apple's mobile device patents in the design of its tablets and smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy 10.1 tablets and such smartphone models as the Captivate, the Galaxy S line, the Fascinate and the Epic 4 G.