On May 24, the US district court in California ordered South Korean technology company Samsung to pay $539m to Apple over patent infringements on its smartphones. The ruling brings a fierce seven-year legal battle into its final stages.
The jury found Samsung has to pay Apple $533.3m for infringements on three design patents, as well as $5.3m on two utility patents. Samsung argued it should only pay $28m for the component parts it had used, whereas Apple wanted north of $1bn.
The case goes back as far as 2011, when Apple accused Samsung of infringing a number of patents on design features now ubiquitous across virtually all smartphones, including the bezel surrounding the phone, its rounded corners and the grid of icons on home screens. Apple was awarded $1.049bn in 2012, when the court found Samsung had wilfully infringed on its patents.
The case goes back as far as 2011, when Apple accused Samsung of infringing a number of patents on design features
Samsung has since fought the court’s decision, and in the process won a case at the Supreme Court in 2016 stipulating damages had to be based on the infringed component parts rather than the phone as a whole. This led to a wide range of product designers filing briefs with the court in support of Apple, saying the design of a product is inseparable from the product itself.
“Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favour of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” said Samsung in its statement on the ruling. “We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”
While the Supreme Court ruling let Samsung escape billion dollar damages, it gave no precise guidance as to how component-based penalties should be calculated. The jury’s calculations in this case are recorded on the verdict sheet, listing each Samsung device that was found to be in violation of intellectual property laws.