Press Release Patent Reform

Public Interest Groups Urge Supreme Court to Fix Unbalanced Design Patent Damages Law

June 7, 2016 , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge joined four other organizations in filing an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in the Samsung v. Apple case. The case concerns a recent federal appellate court decision in the Apple-Samsung smartphone patent litigation. The Supreme Court will review that appellate court's holding that an infringer of a design patent must pay all profits made on the infringing product.

The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge:

“The purpose of the patent system is to encourage new inventions and increase public access to new inventions and products. But the Federal Circuit, by deciding that Apple is entitled to the entire profits off of Samsung's phones merely for a handful of patents on icons and phone shapes, hands a windfall to all design patent owners at the expense of all the engineers, technologists, inventors, and others who contribute to complex and valuable technologies.

“As explained in our brief, retaining the Federal Circuit's rule would potentially discourage new products and services, create economic inefficiencies, and facilitate a new generation of unwanted and abusive lawsuits. The rule could even cause constitutional problems in some situations. We hope the Supreme Court will avoid posing these serious problems for the public and the economy.”

The brief was joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, R Street Institute, the American Antitrust Institute, and IP Justice. You may read the brief here.