Date
21 October 2018
Apple says it “cares deeply about design” and the patent infringement case against Samsung “has always been about more than money.” Photo: Reuters
Apple says it “cares deeply about design” and the patent infringement case against Samsung “has always been about more than money.” Photo: Reuters

Apple, Samsung settle US patent dispute

Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics on Wednesday settled a seven-year patent dispute, Reuters reports, citing a filing in a California court.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in the court filing, which brings to an end a years-long fight from Apple which alleged that Samsung violated its patents by “slavishly” copying the design of the iPhone, the report said.

In May, a US jury awarded Apple US$539 million, after Samsung had previously paid Apple US$399 million to compensate for patent infringement. Samsung would need to make an additional payment to Apple of nearly US$140 million if the verdict was upheld.

How much, if anything, Samsung must now pay Apple under Wednesday’s settlement is not known, Reuters said.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the terms of the settlement but said the report said.

After a loss at trial, Samsung appealed to the US Supreme Court.

In December 2016, the court sided unanimously with Samsung’s argument that a patent violator does not have to hand over the entire profit it made from stolen designs if those designs covered only certain portions of a product but not the entire object.

But when the case went back to lower court for trial this year, the jury sided with Apple’s argument that, in this specific case, Samsung’s profits were attributable to the design elements that violated Apple’s patents, the report noted.

Michael Risch, a professor of patent law at Villanova University, said that because of the recent verdict the settlement likely calls for Samsung to make an additional payment to Apple.

But he told Reuters that there is no clear winner in the dispute, which involved hefty legal fees for both companies.

While Apple scored a major public relations victory with an initial US$1 billion verdict in 2012, Samsung also obtained rulings in its favor and avoided an injunction that would have blocked it from selling phones in the US market, Risch noted.

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RC

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