Apple wins patent case against Samsung, sort of

18 May 2015

Samsung has been found to have copied Apple’s iPhone according to a US appeals court. However, as with any major multi-corporation suit, it isn’t that simple, with the Korean tech giant found not guilt of violating “trade dress”.

Apple has withdrawn from a number of suits it had brought against Samsung around the world in the biggest corporate tennis match around.

All its remaining interests were in this case – which related to the iPhone inspiring Samsung’s smartphone design – and another related one that sees the Cupertino giant seeking the withdrawal of certain patented features from Galaxy phones.

Big numbers: Apple v Samsung

Today’s finding, though, relates to a finding from a few years ago that saw Samsung being told to pay more than US$1bn to Apple, despite the American company seeking well over twice that.

Upon appeal, that was dropped, before rising again to US$930m. Now after this appeal, Bloomberg is saying that will be slashed by around a third, leaving US$548m that the South Korean company “would potentially have to pay Apple”.

Samsung was found to have copied the front face of the phone, the bezel (edge) of the screen and the graphical user interface.

The game of patent patrolling is so minute that it was also found to have used Apple inventions “for gesturing and a way to double tap on a document to enlarge and centre it”.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic