Justices raise doubts about $399M judgment against Samsung

Features Associated Press

  • Attorney Kathleen Sullivan, representing Samsung, speaks with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, after presenting oral arguments before the Justices on monetary damages Samsung owes Apple for alleged violation of  smart phone design patents. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Attorney Kathleen Sullivan, representing Samsung, speaks with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, after presenting oral arguments before the Justices on monetary damages Samsung owes Apple for alleged violation ... of smart phone design patents. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (The Associated Press)

  • Attorney Seth Waxman, representing Apple, left, and Apple Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer Noreen Krall, meet with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. after presenting oral arguments before the Justices on monetary damages Samsung owes Apple for alleged violation of  smart phone design patents. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Attorney Seth Waxman, representing Apple, left, and Apple Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer Noreen Krall, meet with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. after presenting oral arguments before the ... Justices on monetary damages Samsung owes Apple for alleged violation of smart phone design patents. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (The Associated Press)

  • Apple Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer Noreen Krall speaks with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, after presenting oral arguments before the Justices on monetary damages Samsung owes Apple for alleged violation of smart phone design patents. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

    Apple Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer Noreen Krall speaks with reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, after presenting oral arguments before the Justices on monetary damages Samsung owes Apple for ... alleged violation of smart phone design patents. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (The Associated Press)

The Supreme Court raised serious doubts Tuesday about a $399 million judgment against smartphone maker Samsung for illegally copying parts of the patented design of Apple's iPhone.

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Justices hearing arguments in the long-running dispute seemed troubled that Samsung was ordered to pay all the profits it earned from 11 phone models even though the features at issue are just a tiny part of the devices.

But some justices struggled over how a jury should be instructed if the case is sent back to a lower court. Justice Stephen Breyer appeared to embrace a test proposed by Facebook, Google and other internet companies that would outline new limits on such damage awards.

Other justices seemed to favor a different test proposed by the Obama administration.