Apple demands $1 Billion from Samsung for design patent violations

Apple and Samsung back in court over seven-year patent feud

The Supreme Court's ruling allows Samsung to argue that damages should be based on the profits it made off the specific components that were found to infringe Apple patents - rather than the entire device. The Patent Act awards all profits from sales of any "article of manufacture" that infringes a patented design.

During the earlier trial, Apple lawyer Seth Waxman argued that the design patent referred to "the thing to which the design is applied", meaning the entire smartphone.

The conundrum for jurors: Are damages based on "the whole phone, kit and caboodle, or just the shell of the phone - into which Samsung put a bunch of stuff that's unrelated to the patent?"

On Monday, Apple's team was chastised by Koh for asking potential jury members whether they thought a number near that one was too low, a concern she brought up again on Tuesday morning.

The American tech giant's lawyer argued in court that though the design aspects in question only address the iPhone at a cosmetic level, they are still key features of the Apple brand.

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In 2011, Apple sued Samsung claiming the South Korean company's phones, including the Galaxy S2, copied the iPhone in both physical and software design.

The Apple-Samsung patent fight has been going on a long time, and the third time the matter is before Koh. The original jury in 2012 awarded $1.049 billion for infringement of Apple design and utility patents and for trade dress dilution. One had an octagonal bezel, one was rounded only on the left and right edges, and one had a light-gray front. When the Samsung phones arrived, he said, "It was every negative emotion you could imagine". "It felt bitty - just lots of bits". Susan Kare, a GUI designer who was part of Apple's Macintosh design team and has since worked for Microsoft and IBM, will testify that the iPhone GUI can not be separated conceptually from the phone. "It felt like something you could get your head around".

Apple's designs start with sketches and models then progress to 3D milled prototypes that are a good representation of the idea, Howarth said.

Blevins, who had to buy all the components from vendors, said Apple's approach is very different from the rest of the electronics industry's.

Blevins also recounted Apple's design philosophy, explaining that many companies use a "building-block philosophy", which is the "exact opposite" of Apple. "Apple did absolutely the exact opposite", starting with a design and then coming up with components that fit. He remarked that he spent two and a half weeks in a factory just trying to make the vibration motor small enough to fit. He added: 'That had a dramatic effect on Apple, and the compensation is therefore substantial'.

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