Apple vs. Samsung battle goes to the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday

Six years after Apple filed its first lawsuit alleging unauthorized copying of the iPhone, the Cupertino, California-based company will square off at the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday against Samsung. They will argue over how much of a $399 million patent infringement award Samsung must pay, reports Bloomberg.

It will be the Supreme Court’s first examination in 120 years of design patents, which cover the ornamental look of an object rather than any functional aspect. The court last looked at design patents in disputes involving spoon handles in the 1870s and carpets in the 1890s, notes Bloomberg.

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Last week a federal appeals court reinstated a $120 million jury award for Apple against Samsung. The full slate of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., said a previous panel of the same court should not have overturned the verdict in the case involving three iPhone technology patents last February.

Friday's 8-3 decision said the jury verdict was supported by substantial evidence and that the three-judge appeals court panel did not follow U.S. Supreme Court limits on the scope of its review, notes Reuters.

The court also said Apple was liable for infringing one of Samsung's patents. Apple's "quick links" patent, as the main focus in Samsung's latest effort to overturn major court victories by the Cupertino, California-based company over the past two years. Samsung's attorney Kathleen Sullivan said Samsung didn’t use the same technology as Apple to detect and link to specific data, such as phone numbers, in its phones' Web browser and messenger applications. However, Apple's lawyer, William Lee, told the nation's top court specializing in patent issues, that the jury's verdict was supported by "substantial evidence.” 

In February, a U.S. appeals court on Friday overturned a $120 million jury verdict against Samsung. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., said Samsung didn’t infringe Apple's "quick links" patent, and that two other patents covering the iPhone's slide-to-unlock and auto-correct features were invalid. 

This is all part of the ongoing, global legal battle. Apple and Samsung have filed more than 30 lawsuits against each other across four continents. For example, Apple alleges that Samsung copied the slide-to-unlock technology of its iPhone and iPad devices.