Earlier today the Supreme Court ruled that they will uphold a circuit court decision which granted Apple $120 million in a smartphone patent lawsuit against rival Samsung.
Apple and Samsung have been at it for years. Whether it’s in the courtroom or on the market, the tech giants are constantly competing. However, after years of sparring in court, it seems as though Samsung will have little choice but to pay up.
In 2014 a circuit court ruled that Samsung infringed upon two of Apple’s patents, including their famous slide-to-unlock patent. However, Samsung appealed the court’s decision. Since then, the case has gone back and forth in appeals court.
Two years ago the ruling was overturned and then reinstated once again less than a year after that. From there, Samsung appealed to the Supreme Court, which is where we stand today.
As expected, Samsung is disappointed that the Supreme Court will not hear their case. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the company issued the following statement:
“Our argument was supported by many who believed that the Court should hear the case to reinstate fair standards that promote innovation and prevent abuse of the patent system,” the statement reads.
“One of Apple’s patents at issue, in this case, has been invalidated by courts around the world, and yet today’s decision allows Apple to unjustly profit from this patent, stunts innovation and places competition in the courtroom rather than the marketplace.”
Unfortunately, this is a big loss for Samsung but the battle continues. Samsung and Apple will return to court in May for a much bigger lawsuit which originally awarded Apple $1 billion — so Samsung has much bigger fish to fry.
As for patent infringement cases in general, they are fairly tricky. Patent infringement occurs when another party makes, uses, or sells a patented item without the permission of the patent holder.
The patent holder may choose to sue the infringing party to stop their activities, as well as to receive compensation for the unauthorized use. However, since intellectual property is governed by federal law, the patent holder must sue the unauthorized party in federal district court.
Furthermore, patent holders must bring infringement actions within six years from the date of infringement or the case will be considered “time-barred.”
While some patent litigation cases use juries for specific aspects of a case most of the time the complicated legal issues surrounding patent validity and infringement are reserved for the court’s determination.