It helps to have friends in high places, even if you’re a giant, multi-national corporation. Just ask Samsung.
On Monday, a publication called Inside Sources uncovered a legal document that reveals several prominent Silicon Valley firms have joined Samsung in asking the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss its longstanding patent battle with Apple.
Filed on July 1st by multiple companies, including Google, Facebook and HP, the “friend of the court” briefing argues that the decision to fine Samsung for infringing Apple’s patents will have a profoundly negative effect on the innovation economy.
Essentially, the companies argue that modern technology is too complex to lump in to a single legal definition of patent infringement.
“A design patent may cover the appearance of a single feature of a graphical user interface, such as the shape of an icon. That feature—a result of a few lines out of millions of code—may appear only during a particular use of the product, on one screen display among hundreds,” says the document.
“But the panel’s decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user and it was the thousands of other features, implemented across the remainder of the software, that drove the demand generating those profits.”
It goes on to add, “if allowed to stand, that decision will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies, including [the briefing draftees], who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components.”
This is the latest chapter in one of tech’s longest and biggest legal battle. The two companies have been litigating one another since 2011 when Apple said that Samsung had infringed on several of its design patents, including ones that it had been granted for developing interface paradigms like pinch-to-zoom, tap-to-zoom and single-finger scrolling.
The legal proceedings went on for several years before Samsung was eventually ordered to turn over $1 billion in total profits from Galaxy devices the court had decided infringed on Apple’s patents. Earlier in the year, an appeals court reduced that amount to $548 million, but based on this document it looks like Samsung is trying to find a way to have the decision completely reversed.
[source]Inside Sources[/source][via]The Verge[/via]