Endless design patent case orders Samsung to pay Apple $539 million

Legal gavel and smartphone

Apple accused Samsung of coping some design elements from the iPhone back in 2011 and the lawyers have been making hay ever since.

First Samsung was found guilty of at least some of the claims in 2012 and ordered to hand over $1 billion for Apple’s troubles. Samsung appealed the amount and that’s what has, for some reason, taken six years to thrash out. Samsung paid up $399 million for design patent infringements following one wave of appeals but apparently want some of that back. Instead it has been told to find an extra $140 million, which must be pretty gutting.

The following public statement has been attributed to Samsung: “Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favour of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages. We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity.”

Apple, meanwhile has been quoted as saying “It is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. We’re grateful to the jury for their service and pleased they agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products.”

Design patents are a difficult area. To what extent can you prove that one rectangular touchscreen devices copied another? One of the patents, for example, concerns how rounded the corners are. Is only Apple allowed rounded corners? It also shows the frequent futility of patent litigation between companies that conclude it’s cheaper to keep the matter in the courts indefinitely than pay any fines.

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