USPTO finds Apple iPhone design patent invalid in court fight against Samsung

“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month found an iPhone design patent successfully leveraged by Apple against Samsung in its first court action invalid on multiple counts, bringing Apple’s $548 million damages award into question,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Spotted by FOSS Patents‘ Florian Mueller, the non-final decision regarding Apple’s U.S. Patent No. D618,677, known as the D’677 patent, was handed down by the USPTO’s Central Reexamination Division on Aug. 5,” Campbell reports. “The decision follows an anonymous ex parte examination request — likely filed by Samsung — calling the design patent’s validity into question.”

“The Apple v. Samsung jury handed down its decision three years ago, but proceedings continue to drag on as both parties mount exhaustive appeals,” Campbell reports. “Samsung was able to whittle down an initial $1.05 billion damages ruling to about $548 million through a partial retrial and a successful Federal Circuit appeal, but was most recently denied an en banc rehearing to further reduce damages by $399 million. The Korean company still has the option to take its argument to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Read more in the full article here.

“One reason for the invalidation at this point in the proceedings is that this particular patent was not disclosed by Apple in earlier patent applications, according to FOSS Patents,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac. “Additionally, as the report notes, this patent was already deemed by the USPTO to not be valid on four occasions due to comparisons with patents from LG and Sharp.”

“It does not appear that this new patent invalidation will affect Apple’s odds of collecting over half a billion dollars from Samsung in patent infringement penalties,” Gurman reports. “According to today’s report, it invalidation could only come into play if the ‘Supreme Court [becomes] interested in looking into this issue now and [overrules] the Federal Circuit.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of whatever Samsung ends up paying from these endless legal dances, it’ll be a criminally small percentage of the total value of what they actually stole from Apple over these many years and counting.


  1. It pays to steal design.

    But you have to have a good legal team and deep pockets…

    Therefore, money gets you everything, including immunity from the law. And if you are so rich, you can shield yourself from all the stress that goes along with it.

    1. I must be stupid! Because what I see is that Apple inc. did not declare patent D’677 in the Samsung case because it had a “non final decision” tag to it by the USPTO due to its similarity to patents filed by LG & Sharp.

      Therefor, the decision derived by the jury to award Apple inc. damages was not based on the inclusion of patent D’677.

      So why have some of you jumped to the conclusion that patent D’677 was included in the original hearing?

      Am I being stupid in asking this question?

  2. Let me drive this point home. Yes, Samsung stole from Apple. They blatantly copied everything. The court system is fucking up left and right though, if any of YOU come up with something cool, the legal precedent to copy without consequences has been set. :/

    The best way to fuck up Samsung is to stop buying their commercial products. We can’t control the fact that Apple *still* uses Samsung parts, but we can stop buying Samsung TVs and Samsung microwaves and such.

    Stop buying Damn Dung from Samsung. STOP!

    1. I haven’t bought a Samsung product in over 4 years. I even made sure the monitor I have at work was not a Samsung. Didn’t cost any more money not to buy a Samsung product but you have to look a bit harder because the choices are more limited.

  3. This is NOT a final ruling by the USPTO. (And, strangely, “Final Rulings” by the USPTO are not what any lay people would call “final” either, but just one more step along a very, very long patent appeals process.)

    However, we all know that Samsung will attempt to use this interim ruling to get the US Supreme Court to hear the case.

    Personally, I’d like to have the US Supreme Court hear the case and then get a ruling supported by all Justices that is 100% in favor of Apple. The hazard is that the court could rule against Apple, then we’re all screwed. Copying would then be 100% sanctioned by the US court system. It would basically make the USPTO a more worthless organization that it is today. But, it could happen.

  4. Now they have ripped off Canada. They are selling Tim Morton’s coffee is packaging that is virtually identical to Tim Horton’s Coffee in Canada. Just a short period of time till they farm it out globally.

  5. It’s been almost 9 years since these patents were granted. WTF? This is akin to the IRS retroactively deciding that what were legal tax deduction a decade ago were by their new determination now not legal, and then going back and collecting back tax, interest and penalties. (yes, they do this)

    Apple have invested millions in protecting these patents, and now the patent office is claiming they shouldn’t have been granted in the first place? If this is upheld I think Apple should sue the patent office for damages.

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