July 04, 2018


The biggest patent case in this industry, Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose) has finally come to an end when last week both the companies told the judge that they will resolve the remainder of the legal disputes through a settlement.


Back in April 2011, Apple sued Samsung over ‘slavishly’ copying the patented designs of the iPhone and iPad. The case had a total of sixteen claims against the Korean company, out of these claims, six were over issues such as trademark infringement and unjust enrichment.

Michael Risch, a law professor at Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania, had this to say about the situation “This case has been sending toward settlement for some time. This appears to be the final nail, which was waiting for a jury verdict and little headway to be made on appeal.”

The last ruling on the case was made in May this year, in which the US jury has awarded Apple $539 million. Samsung had already made the payment of $399 million, and the remaining amount of $140 was upheld on appeal. Post-settlement, the amount of money, if any, Samsung is willing pay to Apple has not been revealed to the press.

It is noteworthy that the case has already cost both companies millions of dollars in legal fees, and with no suitable solution visible on the horizon, the settlement does seem like the most appropriate decision. As Paul Berghoff, a patent lawyer says, “It always ends in a settlement because it just makes sense, once they get tired, to tie up all loose ends and call off the dogs. You never stamp out the other side, but you can inflict some monetary pain and make them alter their technology. Sometimes that results in the other side coming up with a better product.”

This is exactly what must have happened. Though it is a shame that the actual terms of the settlement have not been revealed by either of the companies.

Apple has also made similar settlements with Google back in 2014 and HTC in 2012 over respective intellectual property wars. Even during this case, Apple has maintained throughout the years’ that it “has always been about more than money” and “it is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.”

After this case, we may get to see more innovations from both the companies that are presently ruling the smartphone world. As per the report published by Bloomberg, Samsung is still in the lead with 23 per cent of the smartphone market. However, Apple is close on their heels at 16 per cent. Though both companies are trying hard to conquer the industry with more useful features, we may also see competition in other categories like IoT, Machine Learning, and AI.





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