Last chance: Samsung plans for Supreme Court appeal in Apple patent case

Sure, the money Samsung has to pay Apple is part of this last ditch effort. Perhaps, however, an appeal hearing could highlight the bigger problem: The patent system is broken.

After the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Samsung's appeal request in its patent case against Apple, Samsung has one final option before paying millions. And it plans to take it.

Samsung is expected to seek an appeal for the case through the U.S. Supreme Court.

This development, first reported by the San Jose Mercury News, is the last in a string of actions dating back to 2012, when the original case was to decided. At that time, the court found in favor of Apple to the tune of nearly $1 billion. After further review and appeals, the judgement was lowered to $548 million.

Surely, the half-billion dollars that Samsung must yet pay to Apple is part of the reasoning for Samsung's intent.

But that's not all, the company says: "The questions present issues of enormous importance to patent litigation and the scope of innovation, especially in high-technology industries."

On the surface, that sounds noble. And other companies in Silicon Valley are rallying to Samsung's cause: Google, HP and others are reportedly supporting the company's request for an appeal.

Based on the lower court opinion, however, the reality is that Samsung products surely took design and technical cues from Apple. That's not innovation; that's motivation to keep up with a competitor in any way possible.

I'm skeptical the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the appeal although, of course, I'm not a lawyer. On the other hand, an appeal at the nation's highest court could be beneficial for the industry as a whole: It just might highlight the issues with our relatively broken patent system and force some long overdue change.

For that reason alone, I'm almost hoping the Supreme Court does take the case and some positive outcome for patent system reform is the result.


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