Committee Reports

Amicus Brief: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Apple Inc. (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit)


The Patents Committee (James Klaiber, Chair) filed an amicus brief in the Samsung v. Apple case, currently pending at the Supreme Court. The case involves design patents, and the question presented is “whether, where a design patent is applied only to a component of a product, an award of infringer’s profits should be limited to those profits attributable to the component.” The Committee filed the brief in support of neither party and addressing two issues:  first, the Committee seeks clarification as to whether damages awarded for patent design infringement under 35 USC 289 (generally, the infringer’s profits) precludes a recovery under 35 USC 284 (generally, reasonable royalty or lost profits). Second, the Committee addresses the issue of “apportionment,” i.e., whether damages for design patent infringement should be in some way apportioned based on the role that the component bearing the patented design plays in the overall product being offered for sale. The Committee argues that the plain meaning of the statute creates an issue of fact for the jury, to determine to what extent of the infringer’s profits the patent owner is entitled.