November 22, 2013
Patent Dispute Ends With Samsung Dishing Out $290M To Apple
Bryan P. Carpender for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
On Thursday, the lengthy patent infringement battle between tech giants Samsung and Apple reached another milestone as a federal jury handed down its verdict, finding in favor of Apple and ordering Samsung Electronics to pay more than $290 million dollars in additional damages for patent infringement.Despite several last ditch efforts by Samsung’s legal team earlier in the week, their strategy to delay the trial proved futile. On Tuesday, the company requested a mistrial on the basis of alleged racist comments made by an Apple attorney during closing arguments. Then on Wednesday, they filed an emergency motion to stay—in the midst of jury deliberations.
"Terminating the jury's deliberations would render the entire trial a nullity, and cause an extraordinary waste of the court's and Apple's resources in preparing for and conducting the trial," said Apple attorneys in their response filed late Wednesday. "Apple would suffer extreme prejudice from having the deliberations aborted, which ultimately would require a retrial of the retrial."
This battle dates back to April of 2011, when Apple first filed suit against the Korean company, alleging that it copied the look and feel of its products—specifically the now ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.
The dispute is over patent infringement on technologies such as Apple patent No. 7,844,915. You might know it as “pinch-to-zoom.” Samsung’s use of this technology (and others) in its products helped bolster its sales, including 10.7 million devices featuring the infringing technology, generating $3.5 billion in revenue for Samsung.
In 2012, a trial on the basis of patent infringement claims concluded with the jury finding in favor of Apple, awarding just over $1.05 billion in damages, far less than the $2.75 billion they were seeking. US District Judge Lucy Koh later reduced that amount that Samsung owed, slashing $450.5 million off the original judgment after she ruled that the jury had miscalculated damages.
Now after only two days of deliberations, the jury awarded Apple the additional $290 million—a figure was significantly lower than the $380 million Apple was seeking. Samsung had a different number in mind, estimating that it owed a comparatively paltry $52 million.
Bill Price, Samsung’s attorney, argued that Apple has tried to show its patents encompass all aspects of design and ease of use in an attempt to prevent other companies from making “attractive” and easy to use devices.
"Apple has tried to mischaracterize these patents so they are the iPhone," said Price during his closing arguments, according to Cnet. "These patents are very narrow...Apple doesn't own beautiful and sexy."
After this most recent win, the current tally of damages has Samsung on the hook for $929 million owed to Apple.
"For Apple, this case has always been about more than patents and money," Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said in a statement to USA Today. "It has been about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love."
While this is viewed as a victory for Apple, this is far from over, as appeals can drag on over a span of years. But for today, Apple can mark one in the “win” column. Or, to stay consistent with their branding strategy, they might just go with, “iWin.”
On a humorous footnote, one juror on the trial who is currently using an old Nokia phone (considered prehistoric by technology standards) has decided it’s time to take the leap and get into the smartphone game. After hearing testimony and trying out the devices that were part of the evidence in the case, he decided it was time to upgrade, begging the question: “Will he go with Apple or Samsung?” Neither apparently, as a source informed us, “He said he like [sic] a Sony.”
HOW-TO PATENT YOUR IDEA: Patent It Yourself: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Filing at the U.S. Patent Office