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.