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The U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated a $399 million infringement award against Samsung Electronics in a long-running design patent dispute with Apple.
The court, in an 8-0 decision, kicked back the patent award to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, saying the lower court calculated the patent award based on the whole iPhone, while the design patents may cover only pieces of the device.
The Federal Circuit's failure to consider a smaller damage award based on pieces of the iPhone "cannot be squared" with patent law, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the Supreme Court. The lower court, in its ruling, said it could not separate out the infringing pieces of the smartphones because they were not available for sale to the public, she noted.