Apple and Samsung settle their legal battle over patent infringement

Trevor Mogg

It’s a case that’s been bouncing around the courts like a ball in a pinball machine, but the game is finally over. On Wednesday, June 27, Apple and Samsung announced they are settling a seven-year-long patent battle. The battle stemmed over a claim that Samsung copied the iPhone. Neither party disclosed terms for the settlement.

The settlement comes after a ruling in May where a unanimous decision by a jury in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, ruled Samsung must pay $539 million to Apple for infringing on five patents affecting a number of Android handsets that the Korean tech firm sold in 2010 and 2011.

In a statement issued shortly after the District Court decision was handed down, the iPhone maker said the case had always been about protecting hard work and innovation.

“We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers,” Apple said.

It added, “This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.”

The tech giant closed by thanking the jury and saying it was “pleased” that they agreed that Samsung “should pay for copying our products.”

Samsung said the May decision “flies in the face” of an earlier Supreme Court ruling “in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” adding that it was now considering “all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”

While the courts had already ruled that Samsung had infringed patents belonging to its rival, this latest legal tussle was all about determining how much Samsung should hand over. The battle revolved around the definition of the “article of manufacture,” in other words, whether the damages should relate to the entire phone or the individual components linked to the infringed patents. Apple sought damages related to profits made by the infringing phones, a figure it put at more than $1 billion, whereas Samsung wanted the final figure linked to the individual components and features, which it said amounted to $28 million.

In the end, following arguments from legal representatives on both sides, the court arrived at $539 million. Samsung vowed to continue the legal tussle and went so far as to file an appeal earlier this month before coming to a settlement with Apple.