Apple and Samsung finally put an end to their long patent battle, whose central question was whether Samsung copied the iPhone. In a court filing today, Judge Lucy Koh said the two companies had informed her that they had reached an agreement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The patent battle began in 2011 and initially resulted in a $ 1 billion failure in favor of Apple. But it did not end there. A series of appeals brought the dispute to the Supreme Court and vice versa, as the companies continually refuted which patents were infringed and, more recently, how much it owes Apple for the infringement.
The case revolved around a series of design and utility patents for basic functions of a smartphone, such as touching to enlarge and the grid of the application of the home screen. But while the fight was resolved using specific patents, the battle was ultimately over whether Samsung copied Apple in the early days of smartphones to gain an advantage. The jury decided that, in many ways, he had done it.
More recently, the verdict was reduced to $ 539 million for Apple. Samsung filed an appeal earlier this month. But the two companies could reach an agreement before it could be litigated again.
Apple declined to give the terms of the agreement and noted a statement it made in May, when the case was last resolved:
We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create products innovators that delight our customers. This case has always been more than money. Apple ignited the revolution of smartphones with the 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 thank the jury for their service and we are pleased that they accept that Samsung pays for the copy of our products.
Samsung declined to comment.
It's not entirely clear why, after all these years, this case is finally coming to an end now. As Apple points out, money was not the problem here, and really, the amounts that were discussed never amounted to anything substantial for any of the companies. It seemed that neither company was willing to break the years and end a symbolically important battle. Maybe, so many years (and some leadership changes) later, it did not matter enough to see this until the end.
Apple and Samsung had another big battle for patents, which was decided for the first time in 2014 but did not end until last year. In that case, Apple earned $ 120 million for violations of its slide-to-unlock patent and several others. The two companies also had international patent disputes, but agreed to abandon those claims in 2014.
With both cases involved, the seemingly endless, occasionally dramatic, and often extremely technical battle between these two smartphone giants is finally, officially over. . At least until next time.