An interesting intellectual property case has just been decided in the Supreme Court of the United States, in the long running dispute between Apple and Samsung over the use of Apple's intellectual property (IP). The issue was, when one company breaches another's IP in a component of a product, should the aggrieved party receive all of profits made from that product, or just a share?
Previously, all the profits from the product sold would usually be handed over to the infringed IP holder. Samsung was in this position having been found guilty of infringing on Apple's IP, and ordered to pay Apple 399 million USD, which led to the current appeal.
Samsung argued that the penalty was unfair where the breach of IP was only in a competent or components of the product, not the whole of the product. Samsung used some extreme examples to illustrate their point, such as a truck manufacturer having to pay over all their profits if they breached the IP in a cupholder used in the truck. The Supreme Court sided with Samsung, to the dismay of many designers, who feel that this will lead to greater IP theft with the potential associated penalties becoming smaller.
Whilst the decision was unanimous, ruled on 8-0 by the Supreme Court, the Court declined to give guidance on how to calculate how large the penalty should be, so this element is still up in the air, and will be going back to a lower court to be decided upon.
If you're concerned about the theft of your intellectual property, please get in touch with Creative Artists Law who will be happy to help you protect it as fully as is possible.
To read more about the case, please click on the link below: