Smartphones have become a universal item. A smartphone is comprised of hundreds of thousands of patented inventions, many of which are design patents.1It is these design patents that are at the center of the highly-contested case of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Apple Inc., which involves three of the design patents within Apple’s iPhone. Beginning in 2011, Apple and Samsung have been in a seemingly never-ending litigious battle over these design patents with the case commencing in the district court, climbing up to the Supreme Court of the United States, and returning to the district court. It is this case that brought design patents back into the limelight after more than one-hundred years. It shed light on 35 U.S.C. § 289, an 1887 statute involving design patent infringement remedies, which allows design patent owners to recover from the infringer’s “total profit” from a useful “article of manufacture” that contains the infringing design. But how is a court to define “article of manufacture” when the patented design is a smartphone—an item that contains multiple components? This Note analyzes the scope of the term “article of manufacture” as applied to a multi-component product and proposes a test for the first step of the § 289 damages inquiry.
Elizabeth M. Gil,
Samsung v. Apple: Taking a Bite Out of the Design Patent “Article of Manufacture” Controversy,
25 U. MIA Bus. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.miami.edu/umblr/vol25/iss3/5