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US Top Court Enters Apple-Samsung Battle

New Samsung S7 (R) and S7 edge smartphones are displayed after their unveiling ceremony at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 21, 2016.

The U.S. Supreme Court has stepped into a highly charged legal battle between the smartphone giants Apple and Samsung.

The top court on Monday agreed to consider Samsung's appeal that it shouldn’t be forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to Apple for alleged patent infringement.

Samsung last year agreed in federal court in California to pay Apple $548 million in the years-long patent battle, pending the outcome of its appeal.

But Samsung argued that $399 million of the penalty was excessive because it was based on the premise that "Apple was 'entitled to' those entire profits no matter how little the patented design features contributed to the value of Samsung's phones," according to the appeal brief.

The court will not reconsider Samsung's guilt, but will look at whether the penalty was excessive for copyright infringement of certain electronic components.

Apple had urged the high court not to take the case, saying Samsung's illegal conduct was clear. Samsung consciously decided to copy the iPhone after its debut in 2007, Apple said, and soon after, its mobile devices "became iPhone clones."