Pays $548M over patent: Samsung Patent Apple

Published: December 5, 2015

Pays $548M over patent: Samsung Patent Apple, Samsung fought until the bitter end to avoid paying Apple, but the company now says it will finally hand over the more than $548 million it owes for infringing the patents and designs of its biggest smartphone rival.

In papers filed in federal court in San Jose, California on Thursday, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said it will make the payment by Dec. 14 if Apple Inc sends an invoice on Friday.

Asked if it had done so, Apple declined to comment on Friday.

The payment comes after a U.S. appeals court last May reduced a $930 million judgment against Samsung by $382 million, stemming from a 2012 verdict for infringing Apple patents and copying the look of the iPhone.

Another trial over remaining damages relating to some of Samsung’s infringing products in the case is set to go ahead next spring.

Even though the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. had authorized damages to Apple in May, Samsung again appealed the final figure to the same court, and was rebuffed twice more.

Now agreeing to pay, Samsung told the San Jose court that it expects to be reimbursed if it eventually succeeds in a forthcoming appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over its liability for copying the patented designs of the surface, bezel and user interface of the iPhone, which accounted for $399 million of the total award.

South Korea-based Samsung also said it reserved the right to be reimbursed in the future if a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office invalidating one of the Apple patents in the case, related to touchscreen gestures, is upheld.

Apple intends to appeal that ruling and said in court documents it ‘disputes Samsung’s asserted rights to reimbursement.’

‘We are disappointed that the court has agreed to proceed with Apple’s grossly exaggerated damages claims regardless of whether the patents are valid,’ a Samsung spokeswoman said in a statement.

Samsung and Apple have been battling over numerous patent infringements since 2010, but in August 2012 Apple won $1 billion in damages.

These damages were then dropped to around $930 million (£598 million), and later reduced by $382 million (£245 million).

The key to this ruling was that these damages had to be paid from the profits of the sales of the devices that infringed the patents.

APPLE VERSUS SAMSUNG
In 2010 Apple began by suing Samsung, but the Korean firm counter-sued just days later.

Apple then secured an injunction to restrict sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe.

In July 2012, Apple was told to publicly state Samsung hadn’t copied its designs, but in August 2012 Apple won $1 billion in damages.

These damages were then dropped from $1 billion (£643 million) to around $930 million (£598 million), an amount that was later reduced by $382 million (£245 million).

In June 2013, the International Trade Commission ruled iPads infringed on Samsung patents and should be banned in the U.S. This ruling was vetoed two months later.

A retrial began in November 2013 that Apple won, but Samsung appealed.

Then, in May, Apple was handed a mixed ruling by a US appeals court.

The prior patent infringement verdict was upheld, but a trademark finding that the iPhone’s appearance could be protected was thrown out.

That means up to 40 per cent of the verdict which had been won by Apple must be reconsidered.

Samsung is appealing, and the companies listed on the amici curiae – of ‘friend of the court’ ruling – believe that asking for profits will damage innovation, Inside Sources reported.

This is because they contend the technology and various components that go into making smartphones, as well as smart TVs, are covered by a myriad patents covering everything from the design of a keyboard, to the shape of a wall mount, or a single icon in an application.

And in terms of software and online products, such as Facebook and eBay, a design patent may cover the appearance of a single feature of a page, such as the shape of an icon.

That feature – created by a few lines out of millions of code – may appear only during a particular use of the product, on one screen among hundreds of other icons.

‘But the panel’s decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user and it was the thousands of other features, implemented across the remainder of the software, that drove the demand generating those profits,’ explained the filing.

By asking Samsung to pay damages based on profits means it is paying damages on the price and sale of the entire handsets – even those patents inside the handset which it owns or it has not infringed.

The coalition claims that by setting this precedent, the case will stifle innovation and creativity and restrict features in upcoming devices.

It said: ‘If allowed to stand, that decision will lead to absurd results and have a devastating impact on companies who spend billions of dollars annually on research and development for complex technologies and their components.’

After the filing was submitted on 1 July, Apple called for it to be dismissed.

Its lawyers are reported as saying at the time that although the companies – namely Google – weren’t part of the original trial, they can’t be impartial ‘friends of the court’ due to their respective affiliations with Samsung.

Samsung uses Google’s Android operating system, for example.

In August last year, Apple and Samsung decided to call an end to their patent infringements battle.

In a joint statement, the two tech giants said they had agreed to drop all suits against each other in countries outside of the US.

Although, the companies added they would continue to pursue the existing cases – such as the one referenced in the amici curiae – currently going through the American legal system.

Each company accuses the other of stealing and using hardware and software features from their respective handsets.

Last year’s battle began in March and was brought by Apple in the US.

It involved at least 10 patent software infringements from the ‘slide to unlock’ feature, to Face Time and video calls.

The case ran for two months before a California jury reached a mixed verdict.

The eight-person jury agreed Samsung had infringed two Apple software patents, awarding the company a total of $119.6 million (£76 million).

But the jury also found in favour of Samsung in its counterclaim, awarding the firm $158,400 (£101,890) for the infringement of one patent.

The $119.6 million (£76 million) is barely more than five per cent of the $2.2 billion (£1.4 billion) in damages Apple asked of the court.

It is also much less than the $930 million Apple was awarded in 2012 in the same court.

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