Despite having agreed earlier this month to pay $548 million in damages, Samsung has now asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the previous verdict, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. While Samsung agreed to pay the damages to Apple as ordered in the earlier judgements, the company also made it clear at the time that it “reserves all rights to obtain reimbursement from Apple” as well as the rights to “reclaim or obtain reimbursement of any judgement amounts paid by Samsung to any entity,” should the judgement be reversed.
In Samsung’s request to the U.S. Supreme Court, the company is asking that it review rulings concerning “design patents” around the look and feel of a product, based on the jury’s decision that basic design elements of certain Samsung smartphones were too close to Apple’s iPhone design. Samsung’s argument is based on the premise that the lower courts misapplied the law around design patents, specifically when assessing ornamental versus functional aspects of a product’s design. Samsung is also contending that it was ordered to pay too much in damages, and that the 1887 law pertaining to design patents is “outdated and too punitive for modern products such as a smartphone” since modern devices contain tens or hundreds of thousands of patents, yet the law requires an award of infringer’s profits to be based on the entire profits of the device, not merely the portion of the profits that would be relevant to the case of infringement. “Under that rule, a jury that awards infringer’s profits must award the entire profits on a car…that contains an infringing cup-holder,” wrote Samsung’s lawyer in the brief.
The Supreme Court has not heard a ruling on design patents in over 100 years, and even in this situation there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will take this case. Several legal experts have suggested that the laws are currently very clear on the awarding of total profits and any debate on the issue is more appropriately taken up by the U.S. Congress rather than the Supreme Court.