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Ethical Dilemma: Apple Patent Damages Dispute

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Discuss about the Ethical Dilemma for Apple Patent Damages Dispute.




Ethical problem is defined as one situation that requires a specific alternative choice or second option for resolving any issues as the first option or process in not capable of resolving the issue and functional measure. In contrast with this fact, this essay is elaborating about the “Supreme Court sides with Samsung in Apple patent damages dispute” (Balakrishnan, 2017).

This assignment is considering the elaboration about significant justification of the case study about selected article with respect to four classical ethical theories such as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue and contract.


Description about the Incident

The scenario of the selected case study is reflecting about the following aspect “Supreme Court sides with Samsung in Apple patent damages dispute”. The study of the case study reveals that the Supreme Court of U.S. victimized Samsung as it was highlighted that they have copied some functionalities from Apple (Balakrishnan, 2017). In accordance with this fact, Apple charged Samsung in the year of 2011 for copying different features of their applications (such as the grid of application icons). Henceforth, two lower courts ruled on about this violation of designing patterns of Samsung from designing standards of Apple. For this incident Samsung had to pay $399 million. In addition to this, this amount was around the amount earned by Samsung for 11 smart phones (Balakrishnan, 2017). In addition to this, this is also identified that the penalty charged to Samsung was according to specific Federal Law that stated that a group that copies patented designing standards to their own products then they are entirely liable for the entire profit earned by the organization.

Relational Diagram

Figure 1: Relational Diagram

(Source: Created by author)

Henceforth, in accordance with this penalty, Samsung came across this fact that the amount they charged for was absolutely inappropriate for their doing. Additionally this aspect is also identified that South Korean Giant also supported this statement of Samsung they ended up with this fact that Apple is not entirely responsible for total profit which gained for copying the designs from Apple (Balakrishnan, 2017). According to the case study of Samsung and Apple it is identified that justice sent the concerned case to the lower court for rest of the proceedings. In contrast with these facts, this is identified that the question that was raised was about the net amount that Samsung needed to pay for copying the designs from Apple on their own products. in contrary with these facts, Apple confessed this fact with CNBC that they will continue for protecting their hard work on their products throughout several years (Balakrishnan, 2017).


Utilitarianism ethical theory refers to the functional aspect that any incident should be measured with respect to their utility and functionalities. Samsung has copied the functional design that has made by Apple for gaining higher competitive advantages over their target market. This aspect was considered wrong according to the approach of Utilitarianism ethical theory. Therefore, justification is made by penalizing Samsung with $399 million (Balakrishnan, 2017).  Therefore, this can be stated that the Utilitarianism ethical theory evaluates the effective elements and standards that are highlighted within the case study about Samsung and Apple. 


Deontological ethical theory states that the moral values should be put for highest priority in any decision making process (Shaikh, 2015). In contrast with these facts, from the case scenario, it is identified that the moral values are not placed at higher priorities from the end of Samsung as they have copied the designing patterns from Apple and gain profit as per their product name. Therefore, from the point of view of deontological concept the Supreme Court has made justification with the penalization processes.


This ethical theory focus on the fact, which the character, individual or organizations are emphasized for their wrong measures taken into consideration and these characters are taken as one critical element for ethical thinking processes (Murakami et al., 2017). In contrast with this theory this is highlighted that the key element of ethical thinking was about the penalization process done on Samsung for their wrong measures taken against Apple and they have copied their designing patterns for their own products. The Federal law has taken into account for managing this wrong measure.


This ethical theory is all about the legitimate standards that are provided by any authority or government of any country for checking the originality of any event or incidents (Feltman, 2015). According to the case study and concern of this ethical theory the lower court penalized Samsung for their wrong doing. According to this theory the higher court and lower court both have signified the wrong measure taken by Samsung and that has penalized for their doing.


Following are the considered recommendations for resolving the ethical dilemma considered within the concerned case study:

Establishment of the policies: Government should be publishing rules against the unethical aspects that are adopted by organizations in order to gain competitive advantages.

Training standards: Training standards resulted into the protected values and measures within organizations.


This can be concluded that the Samsung was ruled and penalized for their copying act from patent designs from the Apple’s iPhone. In contrast with these facts, these actions were taken by the Supreme Court was completely ethical as copying the patented designs were not ethically correct. In addition to this, the lower court ruled on Samsung and penalized them with the amount $399 million. In contrast with this functional measure it was recognized by Samsung that this decision for penalization was inappropriate for Samsung. In addition to these facts, this  can also be concluded that this essay is providing significant development of recommendations in order to resolve issues involved within the concerned ethical issue.



Ale Ebrahim, N. (2014). Citation Frequency and Ethical Issue.

Altmann, J. (2013). Arms control for armed uninhabited vehicles: an ethical issue. Ethics and Information Technology, 15(2), 137-152.

Balakrishnan, A. (2017). Supreme Court sides with Samsung in Apple patent damages dispute. CNBC. Retrieved 5 January 2017, from

Feltman, D. M. (2015). Re: delivery room research: when does poor quality evidence become an ethical issue?. Pediatrics, 135(5), e1368-e1369.

Hollingworth, D., & Valentine, S. (2015). The moderating effect of perceived organizational ethical context on employees’ ethical issue recognition and ethical judgments. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(2), 457-466.

Margulis, A., Boeck, H., & Durif, F. (2015, September). The Government-Firm-Society Triad in Ubiquitous Computing: Ethical Issue or Harmonious Chorale? The Case of RFID Technology. In CSR COMMUNICATION CONFERENCE 2015 (p. 133).

Murakami, K., Sakurai, Y., Shiino, M., Funao, N., Nishimura, A., & Asaka, M. (2017). Reply to the letter by Dr Graham concerning ethical and interpretation issues with vonoprazan-containing H. pylori eradication therapy. Gut, 66(2), 386-386.

Shaikh, A. G. (2015). Emerging Trend of Surrogacy: Legal and Ethical Issue.


Cite This Work

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