This morning’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling was nothing if not decisive. The nation’s highest court handed down an 8-0 ruling in favor of the South Korean smartphone maker in its on-going legal battle against its chief competitor.
The case, which dates back to 2011, centers around design patents. Apple sued the phone maker over hardware and software design, including, notably, the use of a grid of icons. Apple scored wins with two lower courts, ultimately walking away with $399 million stemming from infringement found on 11 different smartphone models.
Samsung fired back against the massive damage award in a case that went all the way to the high court. In today’s one-sided ruling, the court agreed that Samsung’s damages shouldn’t amount to the total sale of the products at issue, given the fact that the dispute only applied to pieces of the product, rather that the whole.
The seemingly endless battle isn’t quite over yet, of course. The case will be sent back down to a lower court to reassess the damages. At the very least, it’s a little silver lining for what has otherwise been a pretty rough year for Samsung and should give other handset makers a bit more wiggle room when it comes to design language.
We’ve reached out to Apple and Samsung for comment following the ruling.
Updates: Apple responded to our request for comment, with a rather blunt statement on the ruling.
The question before the Supreme Court was how to calculate the amount Samsung should pay for their copying. Our case has always been about Samsung’s blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute. We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world’s most innovative and beloved product. We remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn’t right.
A Samsung spokesperson also responded, saying:
The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision today is a victory for Samsung and for all those who promote creativity, innovation and fair competition in the marketplace. We thank our supporters from the world’s leading technology companies, the 50 intellectual property professors, and the many public policy groups who stood with us as we fought for a legal environment that fairly rewards invention and fosters innovation.