The Supreme Court unanimously sided with Samsung on Tuesday in the dispute with Apple over the patent-protected design of the iPhone. The justices held that South Korean giant Samsung "may not be required to pay all the profits it earned from 11 phone models because the features it copied from the iPhone were only a part of Samsung's devices," per the AP.
The case came before America's highest court after Cupertino, California-based Apple won a $399 million judgment against Samsung for infringing parts of the iPhone's patented design, including the flat screen, the rounded rectangular shape of the phone and the layout of icons on the screen.
Samsung took issue with the damages award, arguing that it needed not pay the "total profits" it made off of the infringing products. Instead, it should only be required to hand over the profits it made directly in connection with the specific components that were copied.
Writing the opinion for the nine judges, Justice Sonia Sotomayor states that the law "does not require damages to be based on the entire product, but can be limited to only a component of the product. The decision overturned a ruling from a federal appeals court in Washington, which said that Apple was entitled to all the profits," per the AP.
The court declined to lay out a specific test for how such damage awards should be calculated, and thus, left that for the lower court to decide. The case will now be remanded back down the the trial-level court.
In a statement, Apple said the company is optimistic that lower courts "will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right. Our case has always been about Samsung's blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute. We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world's most innovative and beloved product."