A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated a $120 million jury award for Apple against Samsung in another stunning twist in the fierce patent war between the world's top smartphone manufacturers. The full panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., said a previous panel of the same court should not have overturned the verdict in the case involving three iPhone technology patents last February.
Friday's 8-3 decision said the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence and that the three-judge appeals court panel did not follow U.S. Supreme Court limits on the scope of its review. “The jury verdict on each issue is supported by substantial evidence in the record,” Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore wrote for the majority. The appeal stems from a May 2014 verdict from a federal court in San Jose, California, which ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million for using Apple's patented slide-to-unlock, autocorrect and "quick link" features without permission.
In a dissent, Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk objected to the full court opting to take on the case without allowing additional legal arguments to be made, saying the majority opinion results in “profound changes” in the analysis of whether patents cover obvious variations of earlier ideas.
The two companies have been battling over mobile device technology patents for years, with Apple mostly prevailing. In December, Samsung paid Apple $548.2 million stemming from a separate patent case. Part of that dispute has been appealed to the Supreme Court, which will hear it on Tuesday.
The Federal Circuit handles all patent appeals in the U.S., so its decisions have broad ramifications for how cases are handled in the courts and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
* The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co, 15-1171, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington).