Samsung Wins Bid For Design Patent Retrial With Apple

Samsung and Apple traded blows in one of the most drawn-out court battles in the tech world not long ago, and thanks to Samsung pushing for a retrial, it seems they're set to do it all over again. The South Korean giant took the case to the US Supreme Court after Judge Lucy Koh, the judge who had presided over the previous string of courtroom spats, denied a retrial. When the Supreme Court decided that the case was worth another look, Judge Koh reportedly went ahead with the decision to reopen the case without further ado. The two parties have to put together case plans and schedules by October 25, but do have the option to settle out of court before the case opens up.

Samsung managed to get the case looked at again on the grounds, basically, that the previous verdict had not been entirely correct. To put it as simply as possible, a clause known as "article of manufacture" in US law says that an infringer on a design patent is liable to the patent owner for their entire ill-gotten profit. During the course of the case, it was determined that the clause could be applied not only to a physical product sold to an end user, but also to hardware and software components. This made it easier to see where Samsung and Apple's products were too similar, and where they were distinct. Samsung's challenge to the case posits that the court misjudged some "articles of manufacture" in its product lineup, and that the given verdict, while correct in a general sense, was inaccurate.

For those unfamiliar with the monumental case and how things got to the state they are now, it's been ongoing for over half a decade. It started out with Apple pointing out, not incorrectly, that Samsung's original Galaxy S was so similar to early incarnations of the iPhone that a consumer not in the know could even wind up confusing the two. The case went on as both firms cranked out more devices, and devolved at some points into outright absurdity; at one point, Judge Lucy Koh insinuated that a lawyer in the case was using drugs, and sales of brand new Galaxy S3 units, among other old Samsung devices, became banned in America years after the phone's relevance in the commercial space had faded. This new trial seems poised to follow a similar path, though it's likely to be far shorter than the original saga.

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