Corvette Design at Center of Apple vs Samsung Federal Case

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Believe it or not, the design of a Corvette could actually wind up influencing a landmark case involving Apple and Samsung.

At the center of the debate is whether Samsung copying the rectangular, rounded-corner shape, surrounding bezel, and grid of 16 app icons used on the iPhone, is akin to a carmaker copying the unique look of a Corvette or a Volkswagen Beetle.

According to Inside Source, Samsung paid Apple $548.2 million last year for infringing on several patented iPhone features in its Galaxy S II, S III, Note, and Note II handsets. But Samsung is disputing another $399 million awarded by an earlier court, based on a 120-year-old provision of the Patent Act. It states that a party convicted of copying a design patent can be made to turn over the “entire profit” of an infringing product.


Samsung spokesman Kathleen Sullivan used the Corvette and the Beetle to argue that copying the design of a car doesn’t give companies like Chevy and VW the rights to another company’s entire profits, regardless of how unique the design.

“Let’s take the Beetle, or let’s take a cool, shark-shaped exterior body on a car like the Corvette,” Sullivan said. “It may be that the article of manufacture to which the design patent is applied is just the exterior body of the car, but it may be that nobody really wants to pay much for the innards of the Corvette or the Beetle. They want to pay for the cool way it looks. If that’s so, it should be open to the patent-holder to prove that the bulk of the profits come from the exterior of the car.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy, however, disagreed: “Suppose the Volkswagen Beetle design was done in three days, and it was a stroke of genius and it identified the car. Then it seems to me that that’s quite unfair to say, well, we give three days’ profit, but then it took 100,000 hours to develop the motor.”

No decision has been rendered by the court as of yet, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Via [Inside Source]

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