Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in a patent dispute for the past five years, over allegations that the latter infringed on design patents that had been obtained for the iPhone. According to SCOTUSblog, the case will now be heard by the Supreme Court, following an initial decision in favor of Apple and a series of appeals that mirrored the first ruling.
The scope of the hearing will be limited, however, to a question about whether Samsung’s penalty was excessive for its transgressions; last year, the company agreed to hand over $548 million in damages. The Supreme Court will not be reevaluating the outcome of previous hearings, all of which ruled against Samsung.
In its appeal last year, Samsung argued that $399 million of its penalty stemmed from Apple being “‘entitled to’ those entire profits no matter how little the patented design features contributed to the value of Samsung’s phones.” In other words, Samsung claimed that many other features in its smartphones contributed to the functionality of the devices.
“Even if the patented features contributed one percent of the value of Samsung’s phones, Apple gets 100 percent of Samsung’s profits,” the appeal read.