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Testing the Application of Old Laws on New Technology

MIN READOct 12, 2016 | 01:00 GMT

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide in the next few months how much Samsung should pay Apple for infringing patented design elements of the iPhone.

(PETER MACDIARMID/Getty Images)

Representatives for two cellphone giants, Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics, stood before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, presenting their sides in a case of patent infringement. The original dispute is not over Samsung's infringement of a patent on a technical component of its rival's smartphone but rather its copying of distinctive design elements of the iPhone. In lower courts, Apple has prevailed on the merits of the case, and Samsung is not trying to reverse those decisions. The culmination of the four-year legal battle will be about the amount of money that the design infringement should be worth. Under U.S. law governing design patents, Apple was awarded damages equal to the South Korean conglomerate's entire profit on its infringing smartphone. Apple contends that its patented iPhone design is the key to the benefit and utility of the device, and thus the award is justified, while Samsung argues that the internal...

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