May 18, 2015
Today the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its decision in Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. The case is one of the most closely watched intellectual property lawsuits in recent times and is significant for its discussion of the issues surrounding trade dress infringement. The case is also relevant for its discussion of lost profit damages claims in patent cases.
The lawsuit is the latest decision in a series of cases involving Apple and Samsung, major manufacturers of smartphone products. Apple sued Samsung in 2011 and asserted utility patent infringement, design patent infringement, and infringement of Apple’s trade dress. Apple prevailed at trial, and the district court awarded Apple hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. In today’s appellate decision, the Federal Circuit upheld the utility and design infringement holdings, but vacated the holding of trade dress infringement for both registered and unregistered trade dress. On each, the court held that Apple had not established the non-functionality of the asserted trade dress. The court further rejected Samsung’s challenge to the jury’s lost profits and reasonable royalty determinations.
Fitch Even attorneys are reviewing the decision and will provide details in a future alert.
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