For the first time in a century, the US Supreme Court has weighed in on how much design patents are worth. The answer: not nearly as much as Apple thinks.
The 8-0 opinion (PDF) is a rebuke to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which held that the relevant “article of manufacture” for calculating damages was—in fact, had to be—the entire smartphone. That meant even though Apple’s patents covered only certain design elements, it was entitled to $399 million in lost profits damages.
In an opinion authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court rejected that approach, finding that the statutory term “article of manufacture” could mean either a whole product or just one component of a product.
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