In a highly anticipated ruling stemming from the global smartphone wars, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., upheld the patent infringement violations found by a federal jury in a court in San Jose, California, as well as the damages awarded for those violations. Out of the $930 million judgment against Samsung, the appeals court ordered the court in San Jose to reconsider the $382 million portion awarded for trade dress dilution.
Trade dress refers to visual appearance of a product or its packages which signifies the source of the product to consumers.
Apple had accused Samsung of diluting its brand by copying the look of its devices. However, the appeals court said the features Apple attempted to trademark were not eligible for that type of legal protection because they were essential for the function of the phone and granting Apple that protection would give them a monopoly on the features forever.
Based on the ruling of the appeals court, the court in San Jose could reduce Apple's award to $548 million.
Last year, Apple and Samsung agreed to end their patent suits against each other outside of the United States. The companies had pending lawsuits in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, and the U.K.
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