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Google, Facebook, Dell Take Samsung's Side In Patent Infringement Battle With Apple

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A number of huge firms such as Google, Facebook, Dell, HP and eBay have joined forces in an effort to convince a U.S. appeals court to rehear a past ruling that concluded Samsung should turn over all of the profits it earned from its Galaxy products after being found guilty of infringing Apple patents.

Since 2011, Apple and Samsung have found themselves involved in a series of patent infringement cases, with each company accusing the other of violating the other's copyrights.

Originally, Apple accused Samsung of infringing a number of its patents, most of which are key features found in the company's iPhone. These include tap-to-zoom, multi-touch gestures and rounded corners.

In 2012, Apple won in the first patent trial and was awarded over $1 billion. From thereon, Samsung has been appealing numerous times for the court to decrease the amount or to have the ruling overturned. Later on, the court ordered Samsung to pay Apple all the profits it earned from its infringing Galaxy devices.

Last year, Apple filed a $2 billion lawsuit against Samsung.

Samsung continued to appeal its case and asked the court to review its ruling in June. The company argued that allowing the ruling to stand would "invite overprotection and overcompensation for design patents, free from the limitations imposed in other areas of intellectual property law and lead to an explosion of design patent assertions and lawsuits."

Apparently, Samsung has earned support around Silicon Valley. Groups such as Google and Facebook decided to file a friend of the court brief on July 1. According to the group, the court's ruling that Samsung should turn over all of its profits after having infringed copyrighted property of Apple would make the entire industry vulnerable to patent infringement lawsuits.

"If allowed to stand, that decision will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies, including [the briefing draftees], who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components," wrote the group in its court briefing.

According to Silicon Valley's "Coalition of Pro-Samsung" companies, the technology found in devices such as mobile phones and smart TVs is made up of thousands of components, including software, which make it difficult if not impossible to see everything such as elements of design and functionality as a single entity that can be identified in one patent infringement case. The group further argued that Samsung's case only involves certain design elements that appear to have violated patented ownership.

"The panel's decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user and it was the thousands of other features, implemented across the remainder of the software, that drove the demand generating those profits," the companies said. 

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr

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