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Apple v Samsung: The ongoing war in Silicon Valley

In the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), His Honour Judge Colin Birss once described Apple's external casing as 'too cool' to be infringed by Samsung's.

26 January 2016

The court was looking at a bevelled-edged front screen containing a colourful grid of 16 icons on the respective parties' tablets. Those same features are to be considered by the Supreme Court of the United States, where there remains a hard-fought registered design patent dispute in the US's highest appellate court. There is a long-established principle of legal construction that demands international comity when construing statutes, but HHJ Birss's supercool judgment remains unheeded.

The two key points in dispute are:

  • When comparing two designs for infringement purposes, should unprotected elements also be compared? and

  • Where only some features of a design are legally protected, should an award of infringer's profits be limited to those components?

The Distr...

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