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Samsung-Apple phone patent dispute heads to Supreme Court

Samsung-Apple phone patent dispute heads to Supreme Court
The Apple iPhone 4s, left, is displayed next to the Samsung Galaxy S III. The Supreme Court is to review a dispute over smartphone features for which Apple holds patents: the flat screen, the rectangular shape with rounded corners, a rim and a screen of icons. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

The Supreme Court has agreed to referee a pricey patent dispute between Samsung and Apple.

The justices said Monday they will review a $399-million judgment against South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. for illegally copying patented aspects of the look of Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

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Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., and Samsung are the top two manufacturers of smartphones. The two companies have been embroiled in patent fights for years.

The justices will decide whether a court can order Samsung to pay Apple every penny it made from the phones at issue, even though the disputed features are a tiny part of the product.

The federal appeals court in Washington that hears patent cases ruled for Apple.

None of the earlier-generation Galaxy and other Samsung phones involved in the lawsuit remain on the market, Samsung said.

The case involved common smartphone features for which Apple holds patents: the flat screen, the rectangular shape with rounded corners, a rim and a screen of icons.

The case, Samsung v. Apple, 15-777, is to be argued in the court's new term that begins in October.

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