Tech Companies Are Ganging Up On Apple
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Apple’s rivals are ganging up against the tech leader in a Supreme Court attack.
Facebook, Google, Dell, HP and five other companies jointly filed a statement to the Supreme Court, supporting Samsung in its ongoing legal battle with Apple.
The companies argued that Samsung shouldn’t have had to pay such an enormous sum to Apple, even if a few features may have infringed on some of Apple’s design patents.
They want the Supreme Court to hear Samsung’s appeal. In the document, they called a lower court’s decision “flawed.”
“Awarding a design patentee the total profit from an infringer’s product when the design covers only a relatively minor portion of the product is out of proportion with the significance of the design and out of touch with economic realities,” their brief reads.
Samsung asked the Supreme Court to take its case in December. The original dispute dates back to 2011 when Apple went after Samsung for copying elements of the iPhone’s hardware and software design.
Two of the patents have to do with the shape of the Phone — its “particular black rectangular round-cornered front face” and surrounding “bezel.” The other has to do with the layout of colorful icons in a grid.
Samsung was denied its argument that the penalty should be limited to the profits derived specifically from the three infringed features.
“No one may own rectangles, round corners, the color black or the concept of a grid of icons,” Samsung said in a filing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Several public advocacy groups, 37 intellectual property experts and professors, and a tech trade group submitted “friend of the court” documents on Friday too. Six briefs were filed in total.
They argued that an appeals court decision on how damages should be determined is “draconian,” and “anti-competitive.”
“As applied to a modern, multicomponent product, the entire profit rule drastically overcompensates design patent owners, undervalues technological innovation and manufacturing know-how, and raises troubling questions about how to handle other potential claims to a share of the defendant’s profits,” the law professors wrote.
If the decision were allowed to stand, there would be a new precedent for “abusive patent litigation,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation said. The decision could stifle startups from innovating, according to another brief.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not reviewed a design patent case in more than 120 years, according to Samsung’s court documents. The court is expected to decide whether or not to take the case in the first half of this year.
Apple and Samsung have been entangled in numerous legal disputes over the years. But the two companies dropped all cases outside the United States in 2014.
Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.