The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the ongoing case between Samsung and Apple. Samsung filed an appeal regarding the decision made by the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that was handed down in 2015. The question is whether traditional patent law should apply to the tech industry, which uses numerous patents to create just one product.
However, the ruling in this case could affect more than just the tech industry since it could create ripple effects that will be felt in businesses here in Texas and across the country. The Court of Appeals ruled that "design patents" -- which typically have to do with the appearance of a product -- that are infringed upon entitle the holders of those patents to recover all of the profit made by the company that used them without first obtaining permission to do so and/or compensating the patent holders. When the law was passed in the 1800s, one design patent would often represent the entire product.
Today, approximately 250,000 patents are applicable to a typical smartphone. Under the ruling of the Court of Appeals, the infringement of even one of those quarter of a million patents would mean that patent holder could recover the total amount of profits earned by the party accused of infringing the patent. Obviously, Samsung does not believe that it should have to turn over all of its profits from the sale of smartphones that included Apple's patents.
This ruling sent shock waves through the tech industry for obvious reasons. It might not be surprising to any entrepreneur here in Texas that all eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court when it issues its ruling on this case. The current patent law might require some changes in order to keep up with the times, but for the time being, that determination rests with the country's highest court.
Source: recode.net, "Startups should be watching as the Supreme Court decides Samsung v. Apple", Evan Engstrom, July 1, 2016