Samsung gets a lifeline in legal fight with Apple

The company was previously ordered to pay $399m to the Californian firm...

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Samsung will not have to payout $399m for copying part of Apple’s iPhone design.

The officials said that the kind of patent violation that the South Korean firm was found guilty of does not always have to result in all profits from the sale of products using copied designs being paid to the patent holders - if the case relates to aspects of a design rather than the product as a whole.

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This case will now be sent to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington to judge how much the company should pay to Apple.

An Apple spokesperson told Reuters that the company is "optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right."

Meanwhile, Samsung said the ruling is a "victory for Samsung and for all those who promote creativity, innovation and fair competition in the marketplace."

The company is accused of aping the appearance of Apple's iPhone with its Galaxy smartphone models - specifically its rounded-corner face and colorful grid of icons to launch applications.

Samsung's flagship phone's sales surpassed Apple's when the iPhone 5 missed-out on the large-screen trend.

This was the first patent case to reach the US Supreme Court in 120 years.