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Will the Supreme Court Take Up the Apple v. Samsung Patent Feud?

Apple began litigating against Samsung for patent infringement dating back to 2011. Apple won a recent case, however, Samsung is attempting to appeal the verdict and take it to the country's highest court.

(TNS) -- Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to take up Samsung's appeal of its patent loss to Apple over the copying of iPhone technology.

In "friend-of-the-court" briefs made public on Monday, the companies warned the high court that the outcome against Samsung -- which already has had to cut a check to Apple for more than $500 million for patent violations and faces the potential for more penalties -- "will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies" because of the long-term impact on how patent law is applied to technology products such as smartphones.

Samsung in December asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal, giving the nation's high court an opportunity to weigh in on perhaps the most high-profile tech showdown in recent memory.

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals last year rejected Samsung's arguments in a ruling largely backing Apple -- leaving the Supreme Court as the only legal option left for Samsung to try to overturn the adverse jury verdict. Samsung maintains that a three-judge Federal Circuit panel erred when it left intact a jury's 2012 verdict that the South Korean tech giant's smartphones and tablets infringed Apple's design patents.

That part of the verdict -- which has been pared from an original judgment of $1 billion -- accounts for the $548 million in damages Samsung still had to pay Apple from their first trial. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh rebuffed Samsung's effort to stall paying Apple until the Supreme Court appeal is resolved, forcing the South Korean tech giant to provide the money to Apple in December.

Samsung appealed a San Jose jury's August 2012 verdict that it violated Apple's patent or trademark rights in 23 products, such as the Galaxy S2 smartphone, as well as about $930 million in damages awarded to the iPhone maker. The case, known as "Apple I," was the first of two trials between the feuding tech titans. Another federal jury later found Samsung copied iPhone technology in more recent products but awarded $120 million in damages, a fraction of what Apple sought. That case also has been appealed to the Federal Circuit, which recently heard arguments and is expected to rule sometime this spring.

Meanwhile, in addition to the tech companies, Samsung has enlisted support from various groups hoping the Supreme Court will clarify the patent issues in the showdown with Apple. Many of those same companies sided with Samsung in the Federal Circuit, which nevertheless sided with Apple.

In one brief joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, groups backing Samsung warned the Supreme Court that the verdict, if allowed to stand, "opens the door to a new species of abusive patent litigation."

Apple has repeatedly argued that the courts have gotten it right in the case, saying it provided clear evidence that Samsung blatantly copied iPhone and iPad technology in the development of its smartphones and tablets.

The Supreme Court is likely to decide whether to take the case before its term ends in June.

©2016 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.