Apple wins $539m from Samsung after epic patents odyssey

25 May 2018

Apple iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone X. Image: Volodya Senkiv/Shutterstock

Well now, how do you like them apples, Samsung?

South Korea’s Samsung has been ordered by a US court to pay $539m in damages to Apple for copying features of the original iPhone.

In a case that began back in 2011, Apple was originally awarded $1.05bn in damages in 2012 but Samsung disputed the amount and argued that it should only pay $28m.

‘This case has always been about more than money’

Jurors in a federal court in San Jose decided yesterday (24 May) that Samsung will have to pay $539m in damages.

It had already been established that Samsung infringed on three of Apple’s design patents, including the rounded corner of its smartphones, the rim surrounding the front face and the grid of icons on the screen of the phone. It was also established that Samsung infringed upon two utility patents around how smartphones are used and how they work.

Moral high ground

The latest retrial centred on the definition of the phrase ‘article of manufacture’ and whether to award damages to Apple on the basis of the specific value of the patents that were infringed upon, or on the total Samsung phone sales made possible because of these features.

Ultimately, it is a big win for Apple, both morally and ethically.

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

“This case has always been about more than money.”

But is the saga over? It doesn’t look that way.

“Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous supreme court ruling in favour of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” Samsung said in a statement.

“We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”

Apple iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone X. Image: Volodya Senkiv/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years