Samsung and Apple are replaying a legal battle that started in 2011

The legal case Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. that began in 2011 is back in court today.

Given that the original verdict found the South Korean chaebol guilty of copying Apple’s smartphone inventions and designs, today’s retrial before US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California is about the amount of damages Apple is entitled to.

The original ruling culminated with a $1.05 billion victory in Apple’s favor handed in 2012. The amount was, however, decreased substantially following multiple retrials, appeals and adjustments. Even though Samsung’s patent-infringing Galaxy phones haven’t been available in stores for years now, Samsung has indeed agreed to pay some damages.

“This is the dregs of a fight that began six months before Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died in October 2011 and grew to dozens of lawsuits spanning the globe,” Bloomberg said Monday. “Each side spent hundreds of millions on lawyers to prove who was the most innovative in a field that transformed cultures around the world.”

Per the Supreme Court’s ruling, Samsung can ask that damages owed to Apple be derived from the profits it made off the specific patent-infringing components rather than the entire device. A new jury will make that decision for three such design patents, including one covering the rectangular shape, rounded corners and black glass of the iPhone’s front face.

As per Michael Risch, a law professor at Pennsylvania’s Villanova University School of Law:

At some point you have to decide what’s the thing being designed? It could be the phone as completed with all the functionality built into it, or it could simply be the case.

Are damages based on the whole phone, kit and caboodle, or just the shell of the phone—into which Samsung put a bunch of stuff that’s unrelated to the patent?

Apple’s going to say it wasn’t until you put it into our shape that you made any money on it, so you have to look at it holistically. Samsung will argue Apple is only entitled to profits for selling something of that shape and not for the profits for selling the functionality that goes inside the shape.

This week’s trial will use a different method to calculate damages from two utility patents. The jury’s verdict won’t carry any legal weight on how future fights over patents play out.

Comic top of post courtesy of Joy of Tech