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商业 - 科技

三星苹果专利官司恐危及所有手机商

Jeff John Roberts 2016年01月20日

科技行业协会警告称,iPhone设计专利官司可能产生巨大影响。

由谷歌、微软等大型科技公司组建的行业协会希望美国最高法院重新考量备受关注的苹果专利案判决结果,原因是此项判决“对科技行业来说很危险”。

最近,美国计算机与通信行业协会(CCIA)提交了“法庭之友”意见书,对三星表示支持。此前美国上诉法院判决三星侵犯iPhone设计专利,须向苹果公司赔偿3.99亿美元。2015年12月,三星就此向美国最高法院提起上诉。

苹果和三星的专利之争从2011年开始,耗时漫长而且十分胶着,上述设计专利纠纷只是其中的一个片断。虽然三星最近支付了5.48亿美元的捏拉缩放和设计专利侵权费,但它仍在就此向美国最高法院等司法机构上诉。

但对整个科技行业来说,iPhone设计专利纠纷最受关注,原因是上诉法院做出此项判决后,不正当地复制他人产品外观元素的公司就有可能遭遇灭顶之灾。

是次纠纷涉及美国第D618677号专利,其内容包括iPhone最初的外观设计。更具体地说,三星认为上诉法院的失误在于后者裁定的侵权赔偿以iPhone的全部价值为基础,而不仅仅是和受保护的设计专利有关的价值。

为支持三星,CCIA在意见书中指出,苹果申请的设计专利并不包含整个iPhone。该协会引用设计专利法规称,相反,苹果用虚线将iPhone的绝大部分排除在了此项专利之外:

也就是说,苹果在下图中只为iPhone的正面申请了专利,该产品的其他部分为虚线,表明它们并未包括在专利中。

A trade group for Google, Microsoft, and other big tech firms wants the Supreme Court to reconsider a closely-watched Apple patent decision, claiming the ruling is”dangerous to the technology industry.”

The claim, filed on Friday by the Computer and Communications Industry Association, came in the form of a “friend-of-the-court” brief in support of Samsung, which in December asked the Supreme Court to review an appeals court’s decision to award $399 million to Apple over the infringement of an iPhone design.

The design dispute is just one twist in a bitter and long-running patent fight between Apple and Samsung that began in 2011. While Samsung recently paid out $548 million over “pinch-to-zoom” and design patents, it is still fighting that award on various of legal fronts, including at the Supreme Court.

For the broader tech industry, however, it is the design dispute over the iPhone that is top-of-mind because the lower court’s ruling stands to open the door to calamitous damages whenever a company is found to wrongfully copy the ornamental aspects of a product.

In the iPhone case, the issue turns on U.S. Patent D618677, which covers the outer design of the original iPhone. More specifically, Samsung says the appeals court made a mistake by finding the design patent entitled Apple to damages based on the entire value of the iPhone—instead of just the value associated with the protected design.

In support of Samsung, the CCIA filing argues that Apple’s design patent application did not claim the entire device. It cites design patent rules to say Apple instead used dotted lines to exclude most of the phone from the patent claim:

That is, the drawings claim only the front face of the device, and the rest of the device is shown in dotted lines, which indicate unclaimed subject matter.

CCIA的意见书还警告说,如果维持原判,那么以收购专利,然后发起起诉为经营模式的控股公司“就可能利用设计专利来大举攻击”该协会成员(还包括Netflix、亚马逊和Facebook)。

据俄克拉荷马大学法学院教授、设计专利权威人士莎拉•伯斯坦介绍,三星的一个策略立足点是告诉最高法院,和普通发明专利相比,“设计专利并无特殊之处”。发明专利针对的是产品的功能,而不是外观,判断发明专利遭侵犯后的损失则要基于该专利对产品的贡献。

最高法院将在今后几周内决定是否接纳三星的上诉。如果接纳,苹果和三星就有可能在今年春末或者秋天就此展开法庭辩论。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

校对:詹妮

The CCIA filing also warns that, if the original decision is allowed to stand, its members (which also include Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook) could be faced with “potentially massive exposure to attack using design patents” by shell companies whose business model is to acquire patents and then launch lawsuits.

According to law professor Sarah Burstein, an authority on design patents at the University of Oklahoman, Samsung’s strategy is partly based on telling the Supreme Court that “design patents aren’t special” compared to regular utility patents. Utility patents cover a product’s function, rather than ornamentation, and the damages for them are based on the patent’s contribution to the product.

The Supreme Court will decide whether to hear Samsung’s appeal in the next several weeks. If it agrees to do so, Apple and Samsung would likely argue the case in the late spring or in the fall.

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