WASHINGTON, D.C. – On May 30th, the National Grange filed an amicus brief opposing the recent settlement of $399 million awarded to Apple, Inc. in regards to recent intellectual property infringement litigation with Samsung Electronics Company. The National Grange respectfully urged the U.S. District Court to reverse the jury’s excessive award for design patent infringement in order to protect access to smartphone technology for residents of the nation’s rural and remote areas.
In the brief, the National Grange argues that the Northern District Court of California’s massive jury awarded settlement for design patent infringement has potentially harmful repercussions for America’s rural communities. Because of the importance of smartphones to consumers, and in particular to the rural and agricultural community, the National Grange says that the Court should give careful consideration to the potential harm that may come from an excessive design patent damages award in this case and other cases involving smartphones.
The National Grange is dedicated to ensure that the rural residents of America have the resources they need to compete in both global and local economies, as well as have the same access to quality goods and services that those residents in urban areas come to expect. Smartphones, like the Samsung products subject to appeal, provide a key role in providing internet access to America’s rural communities, a goal the National Grange is firmly behind.
Although broadband internet is growing through advances in infrastructure, home access to broadband in rural areas lags far behind that of urban communities. With limited wired options for internet access, many rural residents rely on their smartphones’ wireless broadband capabilities as their primary source of internet access. The National Grange believes that the cost of permitting burdensome judicial remedies for design patent infringement, as in the current case, would likely be passed on to the consumer, rural and urban alike, in the form of increased prices and reduced access to essential mobile wireless functionality.