The right to patent a product or idea is important for companies in New York and elsewhere that wish to protect their wares from duplication. In the past, patent laws primarily covered tangible objects, such as new inventions or furniture designs. Now that advanced computer technology is prevalent in the marketplace, patent infringement lawsuits have the potential to become more complex.
Voicing its concern over the fact that laws concerning patents don’t work for modern technology, Samsung has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to look at a patent infringement case it lost three years ago. The case, which was initiated by Apple, concerned Samsung’s similar design of 16 colored icons on its smartphone’s grid, a bezel and a front face. Apple succeeded in winning a verdict of $548 million but now Samsung worries that the case will encourage ‘patent trolls’ to file similar cases against companies that are not financially capable of handling such a large and expensive lawsuit.
In addition to a re-examination of the damages, the Android manufacturer hopes the higher court can shed light on the specific details design patents may cover and the size of the penalty that can be levied against a company. For example, would a fine for patent infringement be based on the value of the product or the company’s overall profits?
The outcome of this lawsuit may affect consumers and technological companies alike. Company executives may wish to consult with a business attorney when there is a need to protect a patent.
Source: CNET, “Samsung takes Apple patent battle to US Supreme Court,” Shara Tibken, Dec. 14, 2015