US Supreme Court upholds $120 million award to Apple over “slide to unlock“ feature

The US Supreme Court yesterday upheld a $120-million patent award to Apple in its dispute with Samsung over ''slide to unlock'' and other features used on smartphones.

The case is different from the bigger patent court battle in which Samsung was initially ordered to pay $1 billion to the iPhone maker. A new trial will be held in the case certain elements of the damages awarded.

The ruling yesterday concerns some smartphone features Apple alleged were copied by Samsung. According to Samsung the features were ''obvious'' and thus not able to be patented.

Apple had sought around $2.2 billion at trial, but the jury awarded the California-based company $119.6 million. The verdict was set aside by an appeals panel but it was reinstated by the full appellate panel in October 2016 by a vote of 8-3.

Samsung said in a statement its argument was supported ''by many who believed that the court should hear the case to reinstate fair standards that promote innovation and prevent abuse of the patent system.''

The company had noted that one of Apple's patents at issue in the case had been invalidated by courts ''and yet today's decision allows Apple to unjustly profit from this patent, stunts innovation and places competition in the courtroom rather than the marketplace.''