Dec 8, 2015

The End of the Samsung and Apple Patent Dispute…For Now

The longstanding patent legal battle between Apple and Samsung has come to a pause in proceedings…for now. The South Korean phone manufacturer has agreed to pay Apple $548 million (£362m), while reserving the right to file appeals in the future.

The settlement was revealed in papers filed in a California court by both companies on 3 December 2015.

The dispute began in 2011 when Apple alleged that Samsung was using its patented technologies without permission. The payment does not mean the end of the court battle as, next year, a US court will decide if Apple deserves more damages.

Patent exam

A joint case management statement filed to the California court revealed that Samsung would pay Apple within 10 days of receiving an invoice of damages due.

This payment is part of a larger $1bn damages that was awarded in favour of Apple in 2012. The total was later reduced very slightly to $930m. Further legal action split this total into two separate payments of damages to the injured party – a chunk of $548m in this case, which was for infringement of technology patents. A further $382m payment of damages is due to be paid following allegations that Samsung copied Apple's packaging materials. A jury is due to decide on the second damages award in 2016.

Although Samsung have agreed to pay the first part of the settlement, they have said it reserves the right to have its money returned if there are further developments in the case.

As an aside the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is currently reviewing some of the patents Apple used in the court case.

Samsung said in a statement: "While we've agreed to pay Apple, we remain confident that our products do not infringe on Apple's design patents, and we will continue to take all appropriate measures within the legal system to protect our products and our intellectual property."

Apple have counterclaimed the principle that Samsung retains the right to a refund if the patents are ruled invalid.

One of the patents in dispute covered ways to add the 'pinch and zoom' feature to the smartphones. This has already been ruled invalid by the USPTO and Apple are in the process of appealing this decision.

in: Case Law, News, Patents

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