It used to be that design patents were an afterthought—or never even filed. But few companies could miss the $ 548 million verdict that Samsung was ordered to pay Apple in 2012 based on Samsung’s infringement of Apple’s designs for the iPhone.
Apple’s comment in 2012 was that the verdict showed “stealing isn’t right.” Samsung—and probably many others—fear that the result sent a message of yet another way that companies can be subject to legal attack for using things that they considered beyond the scope of intellectual property legal protections.
Now Samsung has sought review of the case at the U.S. Supreme Court (see the filing here). It’s not easy to get a case accepted for review by the Supreme Court. If the case is accepted, it will be the first one on design patents in over 100 years. But it could provide a higher level of clarity on just how much innovation is needed to secure the exclusive rights provided by a design patent.