Some of the biggest tech companies in the world have sided with Samsung against Apple in an ongoing lawsuit.
Samsung and Apple have been at each other’s throats in the courts over supposed patent transgressions for years now, and a recent ruling appeared to hand Apple a major win.
Back in May, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple around £590 million after it was found to have infringed upon Apple’s design and utility patents. That amount was subsequently slashed, but only by around £244 million.
However, Samsung appears to have found itself some powerful friends to help with the appeals process.
As Inside Sources points out, a group of Silicon Valley’s finest have taken a position behind Samsung in the matter. An impressive list of companies including Facebook, Google, Dell, HP, and eBay have signed a petition to a federal appeals court concerning the ruling.
The companies filed a so-called “friend of the court” briefing on July 1, which objects to the decision to make Samsung hand over profits from a selection of devices that apparently copied from Apple’s patented designs.
Their argument is that the decision will kickstart a flood of patent infringement lawsuits, and will ultimately stifle innovation.
“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,” reads the appeal.
The argument is that modern devices like smartphones have far too many components to them to place them under sweeping patent infringement parameters, which often correspond to only a few select design elements.
“Under the panel’s reasoning, the manufacturer of a smart television containing a component that infringed any single design patent could be required to pay in damages its total profit on the entire television, no matter how insignificant the design of the infringing feature was to the manufacturer’s profit or to consumer demand,” argues the group.
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It’s also pointed out that the software business could be placed under similar threat by the ruling. An example is given whereby a patent-infringing app icon could potentially lead to profits from the software being awarded to a patent holder, despite the issue essentially stemming from a few lines of code among millions.
Of course, many of Samsung’s tech buddies are hardly impartial witnesses in this case. In particular, Apple has argued that Google’s relationship with Samsung as the creator of the Android OS renders its view on the matter invalid.
“Google has a strong interest in this particular case, is not an impartial ‘friend of the court,’ and should not be permitted to expand Samsung’s word limit under the guise of an amicus brief,” Apple told the court.
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