The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of Samsung, in an ongoing patent dispute between the south Korean tech giant and Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The court’s decision states that Samsung’s violations only apply to a certain component, and to whole product. According to this decision, Samsung may avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties for patent violations.
Samsung may not be required to pay all the profits it earned from 11 phone models mentioned in this case, which is a part of a series of court cases between the tech rivals which have begun in 2011. Samsung is being accused duplicating a handful of distinctive iPhone features for which Apple holds patents: the flat screen, the rounded rectangle shape of the phone, and the layout of icons on the screen.
The question whether Apple should be able to recoup profits from violations of only certain components of a patent was raised by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "The term 'article of manufacture' is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product whether sold separately or not," Sotomayor wrote.
This is a crucial court decision for Samsung, which is currently dealing with a wide range of problems, including a damaged reputation due to exploding smartphones. The ruling may save Samsung nearly $400 million.