CCIA Files Amicus Brief In Samsung Patent Case Asking The U.S. Supreme Court To Review A Problematic Ruling

BY Heather Greenfield
January 15, 2016

Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association filed an amicus brief Friday in support of Samsung’s recent petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Samsung is asking the Supreme Court to reverse a controversial decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; that decision ordered Samsung to pay its total profits for several smartphone models to Apple, despite the fact that Apple’s patents were merely for designs for the outer shell of a smartphone. The decision concerns CCIA and its members, which sell or market complex products incorporating many different patents.

In the brief, CCIA points out that the ruling raises constitutional issues by expanding a patent for a small ornamental feature to include all of the innovations making up a complicated device. The brief notes that the constitutionality question can be resolved by more narrowly interpreting the law to refer to the smallest item involved in that particular patent – rather than the whole product.

The following can be attributed to CCIA patent counsel Matt Levy:

“The correct interpretation of the design patent damages statute is being closely watched by technology companies, as well as by patent assertion entities targeting them. Patent assertion entities are already using the appeals court’s decision to threaten operating companies with the total loss of their profits. This decision encourages design patent law to be applied in a way that was never intended. We think the lower court misinterpreted the law and would encourage the Supreme Court to hear Samsung’s case.”  

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