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  • Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Apple, Inc.Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Apple, Inc.
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Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Apple, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
137 S. Ct. 429 (2016)


Facts

Apple, Inc. (plaintiff) was a manufacturer of smartphones. Apple secured a number of design patents prior to its release of its first smartphone, the iPhone. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (defendant) also manufactured smartphones. After Apple released the iPhone, Samsung released a series of smartphones that resembled the iPhone. Apple sued Samsung, alleging that Samsung violated various Apple design patents. The jury sided with Apple. The jury awarded Apple $399 million in damages, the entire profit Samsung made from its sales of the infringing smartphones. Samsung appealed, arguing that the profits awarded should have been limited to the infringing article of manufacture—such as the screen or case—not the entire infringing product. The Federal Circuit affirmed the award, finding that components of the infringing smartphones could not be the relevant article of manufacture because consumers could not purchase those components separately from the smartphones. The Supreme Court then granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sotomayor, J.)

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