Samsung has appealed its landmark patent infringement loss against Apple to the U.S. Supreme Court. The South Korean copier giant not only wants its verdict overturned, it wants the Supreme Court to effectively change the way design patents are handled by the courts so that it will be free to copy at will.
"Samsung is escalating this case because it believes that the way the laws were interpreted is not in line with modern times,” the company said in a statement given to Re/code. “If the current legal precedent stands, it could diminish innovation, stifle competition, pave the way for design patent troll litigation and negatively impact the economy and consumers.”
Samsung recently paid Apple some $548 million, an amount roughly half what the original jury awarded Apple after other stages in the appeals process whittled down that first award. Part of the deal with Apple to pay what it owes included the stipulation that Samsung would get its money returned if it won on appeal to the highest court in the land.
Which is a victory for Apple in that Samsung has a long and storied history of ripping off innovative companies, getting sued, losing, and then delaying payment as long as possible, often years after it matters. Of course, Apple is a different kind of opponent, one that doesn't need the money and has the legal resources to collect what it's owed.
All of that said, few are happy with the U.S. patent system. Folks who think the effort to make new things deserves no protection believe the current system stifles innovation, an oxymoron I've not been able to wrap my head around.
At the same time, a company like Apple won significant victories, yet the copycat was left free to copy and made far more money than it will pay. All the while, patent trolls who don't actually do or create anything extract billions of dollars in extortion from the companies that do.
Will the Supreme Court fix all this? No. It can't. True patent reform will take place starting with the U.S. Congress, or not at all. A successful appeal by Samsung, however, could give the company and other copiers a freer hand to pluck what they wish from companies who actually figure out how new ways to do things.
The Supreme Court has not announced if it will hear the case. Here's the full 200-page filing by Samsung, courtesy of Re/code.