By:  John S. Artz,
Franklin M. Smith
and Brandon L. Debus

On Dec. 6, 2016, the United States Supreme Court, hearing its first design patent case in over 120 years, unanimously threw away a $400 million award that Apple won against Samsung Electronics. In doing so, the justices interpreted an 1887 statute providing that it is unlawful to manufacture or sell an “article of manufacture” that a patented design or colorable imitation has been applied. 35 U.S.C. § 289. The penalty for violating this statute (i.e., infringement) is that the infringer is liable to the patent holder “to the extent of his total profit.” Id. The issue before the Court was “whether, in the case of a multi-component product, the relevant ‘article of manufacture’ must always be the end product sold to the consumer or whether it can also be a component of that overall product.” Samsung Elecs. Co. v. Apple Inc., 2016 WL 7078449, at *4 (U.S. Dec. 6, 2016) (hereafter Samsung Electronics).


This article can be read at the Corporate Counselor, Volume 31, Number 10, January 2017 edition.  Please read the entire article here. If you’re a Dickinson Wright member, please view here


John S. Artz is a member of the Intellectual Property practice group at Dickinson Wright PLLC. John may be contacted at: Franklin M. Smith and Brandon L. Debus are associates with the firm.  Reach them at: and, respectively.