Andy Dean - Fotolia
A US court has ordered Samsung Electronics to pay $539m in damages to Apple for copying features of the original iPhone in the latest round of a patent war between the two that dates back to 2011.
Apple initially won $1.05bn in damages in 2012 after a year-long court battle, but the companies have fought over the final amount ever since.
The $1.05bn award was reduced by a previous retrial in 2013, along with appeals and adjustments. After Samsung agreed to pay some damages, the case went to the US Supreme Court in 2016 and was returned to US District Judge Lucy Koh with an order to revisit $399m of that award. Now Samsung has to pay $539m, an increase of $140m.
Apple was awarded $533.3m after the court ruled Samsung had infringed three Apple design patents, with $5.7m awarded for the violation of two patented iPhone functions.
Jurors were told from the start that Samsung infringed Apple’s design patents covering the rounded corners of its iPhones, the rim that surrounds the front face, and the grid of icons that users view, and two utility patents, which protect the way something works and is used, reports Bloomberg.
Some commentators said the ruling should serve as a warning to companies against copying patented designs and features, while others said the case could reshape how companies view the value of patents that protect the design of products.
Apple said in a statement that it was pleased the jury agreed that Samsung should pay for copying its products, adding that the case had not just been about money, but also about protecting the “hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple”.
But Samsung said the decision “flies in the face” of the US Supreme Court ruling in its favour on the way the design patent damages are calculated.
Samsung had argued that it should pay only $28m because the damages should be limited to profits directly related to the components or features covered by the patents. But Apple argued for damages to be calculated based on the profits made from an entire iPhone.
Industry commentators said the ruling is not a clear win for either company because while the award was greater than Samsung wanted to pay, it was also less than the $2.5bn sought by Apple.
But this may not be the end of the patent wars between the rivals. Samsung said it will “consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers”.
Samsung lawyer John Quinn said the verdict isn’t “supported by the evidence”, and that the company would raise its objections in court filings, raising the possibility of a further court appeal.
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