On December 6, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a rare unanimous decision on the issue of damages for design patent infringement that continues the Apple v. Samsung smartphone legal odyssey. It also marks only the second time in over 100 years that the court has issued a substantive decision in a design patent case. But the result could mean significant challenges in the calculation of damages for design patents and the need for additional factual and expert input, similar to the damage calculation for a utility patent.
In a decision written by Justice Sotomayor, the court reversed the Federal Circuit holding that in the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant “article of manufacture” for arriving at a § 289 damages award need not be the end product sold to the consumer, but may be only a component of that product. The court also remanded the case back to the Federal Circuit for additional briefing on what constitutes an “article of manufacture” in the context of the relevant Apple design patents at issue. Continue reading this entry