Supreme Court opens the door for Samsung to further reduce the damages against it.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a statute applied to manufactured products was applied too narrowly in the company's patent fight with Apple, leaving the door open to Samsung having the judgment against it reduced. While the company was originally ordered to pay $399 million to Apple, the court held that the damages could potentially be reduced because only certain components of the relevant devices might be infringing on Apple's patents, rather than the whole of each device.

From the ruling:

In the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant "article of manufacture" for arriving at a §289 damages award need not be the end product sold to the consumer but may be only a component of that product.

"Article of manufacture" is defined as something made by hand or machine, and can refer both to a product sold, as well as a component of that product. The Supreme Court did not make a decision on what constituted an "article of manufacture" in this case, but they did rule that the lower Federal Court had applied the statute too narrowly in its ruling.

The case now heads back to the Federal Circuit court for reconsideration.

This is just the latest in a long series of judicial showdowns between Apple and Samsung, which began in 2011 when Apple filed a patent infringement suit against its Korean rival. Apple won the original suit, being awarded over $1 billion in damages. Over time, that award has been reduced by various courts as Samsung has fought its way through the U.S. legal system.