Samsung, Apple battle in Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is shown February 5, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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The U.S. Supreme Court is shown February 5, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Two of the world's largest technology companies went head to head in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

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Apple sued Samsung for infringement of the iPhone design. Lower courts ordered Samsung to pay Apple all of the profits made by violating the patents. Samsung is fighting the amount owed to Apple.
Samsung says the design is just a sliver of the phone and that consumers do not buy the phone solely based on its look.

"The design was not applied to the innards of a phone," Samsung attorney Kathleen Sullivan said outside the court. "The batteries, the processors, the electronic componentry that makes the phone smart."

Design patents do protect the physical appearance of a product. Apple owns three of those patents to preserve the iPhone's front face design, surrounding rim, rectangular shape with rounded corners and grid of colorful icons.

"Eleven times now Samsung has been found guilty of intentionally and blatantly copying the iPhone," said Noreen Krall, Apple chief litigation officer.

If Apple wins at the Supreme Court, Samsung could lose $400 million. If Samsung wins, the amount likely will be reduced and sent back to lower courts for a final ruling. The court's decision has the potential to set a precedent for all design-patent cases.

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