It's being reported today that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to jump into the ongoing patent fight between Apple and Samsung over smartphone technology, raising the stakes in a case that has centered on claims the South Korean tech giant copied the iPhone to build its own smartphone empire.
In a brief order, the justices announced they will consider a key part of Samsung's appeal of its loss to Apple in their first federal court trial showdown that eventually forced the South Korean tech giant to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The Supreme Court is likely to hear arguments in the case during the next term that starts in October.
Samsung in December asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal, giving the nation's high court an opportunity to weigh in on perhaps the most high-profile tech showdown in recent memory. Apple declined to comment.
The justices, in deciding to take the case at last Friday's closed door conference, agreed to hear one of two questions posed by Samsung's appeal: how damages should be assessed for patent violations when the technology involved is just one of many ingredients that go into a device like an iPhone.
The Supreme Court indicated it would not be reviewing a second issue raised by Samsung involving the law surrounding design patents, which were in play in the trial because of findings that the iPhone's basic look and feel had been duplicated.
Koh is scheduled to hold yet another retrial on remaining damages issues on March 28, with perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars still at stake. But that trial may now be scratched with the Supreme Court set to address legal uncertainty surrounding how to assess damages in the evolving smartphone industry. For more on this story, read the full San Jose Mercury Times report here.
"Samsung made a deliberate and conscious decision to copy the iPhone's innovative look and many of its other features, and its mobile devices became iPhone clones," Apple wrote in its court brief.