The Computer & Communications Industry Association is hoping the Supreme Court will modify a lower court judgment in a patent case involving Apple and Samsung, and thereby remove a possible tool for uncsrupulous patent assertion entities (so-called 'patent trolls').
CCIA had filed an amicus brief asking the court to hear the patent and design case, arguing that the lower court decision expanded a small ornamental feature to include all of the innovation in the complex device (a Samsung phone).
“To award all the profits of a product based on a dispute over a design feature devalues all the other innovation and components that go into producing a high tech device. We are hopeful the Supreme Court can offer a sensible review of this senseless interpretation of the law,” said CCIA President Ed Black.
CCIA patent counsel Matt Levy, who explains the case here, said of the oral argument: "Samsung, Apple, and the U.S. government all agreed that the Federal Circuit was wrong to say that design patent damages must be based on the entire profits for the product sold to consumers. The Justices seemed to be comfortable with this position as well, because they focused on the correct standards to use in applying the statute," he said, adding: "based on what I heard, I think it’s very likely that the Court will modify the lower court’s decision.”
He says the damages statute was meant to apply to things like rugs, where the design was essentially what was being sold, not complex products as if the outward appearance rather than the Thousands of inventions constituted the phone.
"“If the lower court’s decision stands, it would provide yet another tool for patent assertion entities (PAE's) to use to extract money from companies that produce complex products; patent assertion entities could threaten them with the loss of their entire profit," said Levy.
The Federal Trade Commission just last week recommended changes it the way such entities can assert their patents as a way to prevent them from abusing the process and stifling innovators and hurting small businesses.