In writing a few days ago about the $1.05 billion jury verdict in the US Apple v Samsung trial, we observed that there was a significant disparity between amounts awarded by the jury where it found design patent infringement and those awarded where only utility patent infringement was established. (See Billion-Dollar Jury Verdict a Blow to Samsung – But How Bad Is It?)
We speculated that this may be due to the theory that consumers might be ‘tricked’ into buying Samsung devices which have been ‘slavishly copied’ from Apple products, resulting in greater loss of sales by Apple.
However, we have now learned that there is a very specific reason for the high awards for design patent infringement. As explained in this article on the intellectualIP blog, written by Professor Thomas F. Cotter of the University of Minnesota Law School, there is a peculiar anomaly in the US law relating to the remedies available in cases of design patent infringement which justifies such high monetary compensation.