One of Silicon Valley’s most-watched legal fights has finally ended.
Seven years after it began, Apple and Samsung have settled a high-stakes patent dispute that resulted in numerous appeals, and at one juncture, a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The latest issue centered on how much Samsung owed Apple in damages for copying patented design and utility features in the original iPhone.
Last month, a California jury determined that the size of the reward should be $539 million, a decision that raised objections from Samsung. But before the two smartphone rivals returned yet again to court, they agreed to a settlement filed in court papers before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
The most recent damages award was considered a victory for Apple but something of a split decision. Apple wanted about $1 billion. Samsung wanted to pay about $28 million. The amount of damages due Apple has bounced around through a series of appeals.
Apple had been seeking the full profits attributable to the sales of Samsung phones that included features that infringed on its patents. Samsung had been arguing for smaller penalties directly related to the value of components or features impacted by the patents.
Samsung has not responded to a USA TODAY request for comment on the final settlement. Apple pointed to the comments it made after last month’s jury award:
“We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers. This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.
“We’re grateful to the jury for their service and pleased they agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products.”
As part of an earlier verdict, it was determined that Samsung infringed on three of Apple’s iPhone design patents. They covered having a rectangular front face with rounded edges and a grid of colorful icons on a black screen.
The South Korean tech giant hasn’t sold the phones in question in more than five years.
Was the long fight worth it?
Rutgers Law School professor Michael Carrier said now that the case is over, “the oft-touted ‘smartphone patent wars’ were not all they were made out to be, not blocking products from the market and barely denting the companies’ bottom line.”
Even so, Carrier added that Samsung and Apple “likely realized that it was time to move on.”