Tech giants, farmers voice support for Samsung in Apple patent spat

January 3, 2016


Samsung’s got some new friends in its legal battle against Apple — including farmers, African American small businesses and an electronics retailer.

Legal experts, nonprofit organizations and technology companies have filed amicus or “friend of the court” briefs in support of Samsung, urging the US Supreme Court to consider the patent-infringement case. They want the nation’s highest court to better define design patents and limit the damages that can be awarded. And they’re using Apple v. Samsung as the case that hopefully gets the federal government to enact patent reforms, preventing so-called patent trolls from cashing in on intellectual property.

“This is a very important subject, and…it matters tremendously to our millions of customers,” Lee Cheng, chief legal officer of online electronics retailer Newegg, said in an interview. His company submitted a brief along with Dell, eBay, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, Vizio and software maker Pegasystems that said if the US doesn’t change its patent laws, it ultimately will result in less choice and higher cost for consumers.

“We are very strong supporters of the patent system,” Cheng said. “That said, there’s a huge and tremendous amount of abuse.”

Samsung declined to comment about the amicus briefs. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The South Korean company in mid-December filed a request with the US Supreme Court, asking it to re-examine the decisions made in the patent infringement lawsuits pitting Samsung against Apple. The trial, which ended in 2012, cast a bright light on the designs behind some of the most popular smartphones, and it resulted in Samsung ultimately having to pay Apple $548 million.

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