What has been called the biggest fight in tech, may finally have come to an end. After almost five days of deliberations, a US jury declared on Thursday that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd would pay $539 million to Apple Inc for copying patented smartphone features.
An ongoing feud since 2011
The feud over patents between the tech giants has been ongoing since 2011 when Apple first filed a lawsuit alleging Samsung's smartphones and tablets "slavishly" copied its owns. In 2012, Samsung was indeed found liable of the accusations but a disagreement over the amount to be awarded let to the current retrial.
Samsung had already paid Apple $399 million for infringement of some of the patents at issue in the current case which would mean that yesterday’s verdict would see Samsung still owe Apple nearly $140 million. Apple released a statement announcing the firm was happy the jury agreed "that Samsung should pay for copying our products."
"We believe deeply in the value of design," Apple said in its statement. "This case has always been about more than money."
Samsung, on the other hand, said it was retaining "all options" to contest the verdict. It is not clear yet whether that indicates future plans to appeal.
"Today's decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages," Samsung said in a statement. "We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers."
Apple, who had already engaged in clashes with Nokia and HTC in 2009 and 2010, seemed initially hesitant to start a war with Samsung. The two firms had long-standing partnerships that had seen Apple invest billions in Samsung components such as screens and processors.
At first, Apple attempted to negotiate a licensing deal with Samsung where the latter would pay the first up to $30 per phone and $40 per tablet. When Samsung declined, the lawsuits and years-long tech fight began.
Yet another verdict
This latest verdict, in a long set of suits, countersuits, bans, retrials and so forth, followed a trial in San Jose, California, in the court of Judge Lucy Koh. The trial’s purpose was to determine how much Samsung would pay for infringing Apple patents.
The final verdict was that Apple would be awarded $533.3 million for violation of design patents and $5.3 million for utility patents. Apple had argued it was entitled to $1 billion in profits from Samsung sales of copied products while Samsung argued damages were limited to about $28 million.
In an earlier trial, Apple was awarded $1.05 billion which was later reduced. In December of 2015, Samsung paid $548 million to Apple.
Could this latest verdict finally be the end of this long-standing battle? If history repeats itself, signs may point to no.