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Silicon Valley companies side against Apple in Samsung patent case

Silicon Valley companies side against Apple in Samsung patent case


You thought it was over didn't you?

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The patent infringement battle between Apple and Samsung has been raging since 2011, and apparently it's still going. Some of Silicon Valley's top companies — Google, Facebook, HP among others — filed a "friend of the court" briefing on July 1st, protesting the decision against Samsung. (The briefing can be found on PACER under case number 14-1335, for those of you who like to peruse legal documents.)

Apple originally accused Samsung of multiple patent infringements, claiming that it ripped off key features of Apple's iPhone, including its rounded corners, multi-touch gestures, and tap-to-zoom, but according to the "friend of the court" briefing, the Silicon Valley companies argued that the decision against Samsung would "lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components."

According the petition, found by Inside Sources, modern technology is so complex as to be made up of numerous components, many of which are used in multiple types of products. If the use of any of these components could be the basis for a lawsuit, every company would be guilty of patent infringement, and innovation would be stifled.

"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. 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," the brief states.

Earlier this year, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reduced the damages to be paid by Samsung from $930 million, but Apple still stood to get $548 million. Samsung had already asked the court in June to review its decision to make it turn over the entirety of its profits from the infringing Galaxy phones, and the support of stalwarts like Facebook, Google, and Dell might just be enough to tip the odds in Samsung's favor for a rehearing.