Jury tells Samsung to pay big for copying iPhone design

In this file photo taken on September 02, 2015 people sit in front the logo of South Korean electronics giant Samsung ahead of the opening of the 55th IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung) in Berlin. (AFP)
Updated 25 May 2018
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Jury tells Samsung to pay big for copying iPhone design

SAN JOSE: A federal court jury on Thursday ordered Samsung to pay Apple $533 million for copying iPhone design features in a patent case dating back seven years.
Jurors tacked on an additional $5 million in damages for a pair of patented functions. The award appeared to be a bit of a victory for Apple, which had argued in court that design was essential to the iPhone.
The case was keenly watched as a precedent for whether design is so important that it could actually be considered the “article of design” even in a product as complex as a smartphone.
“We don’t think it is supported by the evidence,” Samsung attorney John Quinn told US District Court Judge Lucy Koh after the verdict was read in her courtroom in Silicon Valley.
“We have every concern about the determinations about the article of manufacture.”
Quinn declined an offer by the judge to send jurors back for further deliberation, saying Samsung would pursue post-trial motions to address its concerns about the verdict.
Juror Christine Calderon said the panel agreed that one of the design patents — the grid of colored icons — did represent the whole phone, while the other two at issue in the trial were seen as the display assembly that gave the iPhone its look.
She compared it to the Mona Lisa: “you use the paint, but it is not the article of manufacture.”
“I had to really think about it,” the 26-year-old Calderon, a technical writer, said after Koh dismissed the jury.
“We kind of felt like we ended up at a happy medium.”

$400 million damage award

The case had been sent back to the district court following a Supreme Court decision to revisit an earlier $400 million damage award.
Apple reasoned in court that design was so integral to the iPhone that it was the “article of manufacture” and worth all the money Samsung made by copying the features.
The lower figure sought by the South Korean consumer electronics titan would have involved treating the design features as components.
The jury had been asked to determine whether design features at issue in the case are worth all profit made from Samsung smartphones that copied them — or whether those features are worth just a fraction because they are components.
Apple argued in court that the iPhone was a “bet-the-company” project at Apple and that design is as much the “article of manufacture” as the device itself.
The three design patents in the case apply to the shape of the iPhone’s black screen with rounded edges and a bezel, and the rows of colorful icons displayed.
Samsung no longer sells the smartphone models at issue in the case.
Two utility patents also involved apply to “bounce-back” and “tap-to-zoom” functions.
An original trial finding that Samsung violated Apple patents preceded a lengthy appellate dueling over whether design features such as rounded edges are worth all the money made from a phone.

Forfeiture of all profits

Samsung challenged the legal precedent that requires the forfeiture of all profits from a product, even if only a single design patent has been infringed.
The US Supreme Court in 2016 overturned the penalty imposed on the South Korean consumer electronics giant.
Justices ruled that Samsung should not be required to forfeit the entire profits from its smartphones for infringement on design components, sending the case back to a lower court.
“Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” the South Korean company said in response to an AFP inquiry.
“We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
The key question of the value of design patents rallied Samsung supporters in the tech sector, and Apple backers in the creative and design communities.
Samsung won the backing of major Silicon Valley and other IT sector giants, including Google, Facebook, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, claiming a strict ruling on design infringement could lead to a surge in litigation.
Apple was supported by big names in fashion and manufacturing. Design professionals, researchers and academics, citing precedents like Coca-Cola’s iconic soda bottle.
The case is one element of a $548 million penalty — knocked down from an original $1 billion jury award — Samsung was ordered to pay for copying iPhone patents.


Oil mixed on tighter US outlook

Updated 21 August 2018
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Oil mixed on tighter US outlook

  • Traders said US markets were lifted by a tightening outlook for fuel markets in the coming months
  • The Iran supply cut may also be more than compensated for by production increases outside OPEC

SINGAPORE: Oil prices were mixed on Tuesday, with US fuel markets seen to be tightening while the Sino-US trade dispute dragged on international crude contracts.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for September delivery were up 27 cents, or 0.4 percent, at 0306 GMT, at $66.70 per barrel. The contract expires on Tuesday.
The more active October futures were up 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $65.49 a barrel.
Traders said US markets were lifted by a tightening outlook for fuel markets in the coming months.
Inventories in the United States for refined products such as diesel and heating oil for this time of year are at their lowest in four years.
This is occurring just ahead of the peak demand period for these fuels, with diesel needed for tractors to harvest crops and the arrival of colder weather during the Northern Hemisphere autumn raising consumption of heating oil.
Outside the United States, Brent crude oil futures were somewhat weaker, trading at $72.18 per barrel, down 3 cents from their last close.
This followed the United States offering on Monday 11 million barrels of crude from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) for delivery from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.
The released oil could offset expected supply shortfalls from US sanctions against Iran, which will target its oil industry from November.
Because of the sanctions, French bank BNP Paribas said it expected oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Iran is a member, to fall from an average of 32.1 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 to 31.7 million bpd in 2019.
Still, traders said overall market sentiment was cautious because of concerns over the demand outlook amid the trade dispute between the United States and China.
A Chinese trade delegation is due in Washington this week to resolve the dispute, but US President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Monday he does not expect much progress, and that resolving the trade dispute with China will “take time.”
The impact of the Iran sanctions is not yet clear.
China has indicated that it will continue to buy Iranian oil despite the US sanctions.
The Iran supply cut may also be more than compensated for by production increases outside OPEC.
BNP Paribas said non-OPEC output would likely grow by 2 million bpd in 2018 and by 1.9 million bpd next year.
“Depending on when pipeline infrastructure constraints are lifted in the US, non-OPEC supply growth by the end of 2019 may prove higher than currently assumed,” the bank said.
The search for new oil has increased globally in the last two years, with the worldwide rig count rising from 1,013 at the end of July 2016 to 1,664 in August 2018, according to energy services firm Baker Hughes.
The biggest increase was in North America, where the rig count shot up from 491 to 1,057 in the last two years.
How prices develop will also depend on demand.
“We see global oil demand growing by 1.4 million barrels per day in both 2018 and 2019,” BNP Paribas said, implying that global markets are likely to remain sufficiently supplied.