In what could be a culmination of a long drawn legal battle, Samsung has been ordered by the U.S. federal court to pay Apple $539 million in damages for wrongfully copying iPhone's features in its bid to compete with the Cupertino giant in the initial days of smartphones.
The acrimonious battle began in 2011. Apple contends Samsung has unethically benefitted in becoming the world's leading smartphone seller by ripping off the various technologies of iPhone to implement them in smartphones running Android platform.
Previous rulings have ascertained that Samsung had, in fact, infringed on some of Apple's patents, but it was the amount in the form of damages which was to be settled. In 2012, another jury determined Samsung should pay Apple $1.05 billion, which was contested by Samsung as arbitrary and unjust. However, later on, the district court reduced the amount to $548 million.
Samsung dragged the issue up to the U.S. Supreme court, which ruled in 2016 that a lower court needed to re-examine $399 million out of $548 million that Samsung had already paid. The reasoning of the court was that the damages shouldn't be based on all the profits Samsung earned from the products copied from the iPhone since the infringement had only violated a few particular patents.
Apple stuck to its gun that Samsung owed more than $1 billion to them while Samsung argued that it should be whittled down to $28 million. Though the amount is about the half that Apple had originally sought for, Apple considers the ruling vindicated its allegation that Samsung had blatantly copied iPhone patents.
Out of the total $539 million in damages, Samsung has been charged $533.3 million for infringing on three design patents while $5.3 million is for infringing on two utility patents. However, Samsung is seemingly not taking it lying down.
In its press statement, the South Korean conglomerate said, "We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that doesn't hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers." It sounds as if Samsung will move the Supreme Court once again. If that happens the case might drag for another few years. But the industry watchers are said to be in favor of Samsung settling the issue once and for all and save the spiraling cost of legal fees. Let's see what will transpire in the future.
- Images from galaxymobile.jp