Samsung Will Pay Apple for Damages—But Wants the Cash Back

4 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Samsung agrees to pay Apple $548 million, for now.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, USA: Samsung fought until the bitter end to avoid paying Apple, but the company now says it will finally hand over the more than $548 million it owes for infringing the patents and designs of its biggest smartphone rival.

After a five-year-long legal dispute over patenting smartphone technology, Samsung has finally agreed to pay Apple $548 million as part of a settlement between the two companies. Samsung said in a court filing yesterday (Dec 3) that it’s only paying the money because an appeals court refused to block a judgement ordering it to pay. The payment comes after a US appeals court last May reduced a $930 million judgment against Samsung by $382 million, stemming from a 2012 verdict for infringing Apple patents and copying the look of the iPhone. Even though the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. had authorized damages to Apple in May, Samsung again appealed the final figure to the same court, and was rebuffed twice more. It’s been almost five years since Apple first accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying the iPhone, setting off a global patent battle that has shrunk in size but not in vitriol.

After appeals, the amount was cut by $70 million, and then split into two parts: $548 million for copying smartphone features such as pinch to zoom, and $382 million for allegedly imitating the phones’ appearance. The two tech behemoths have dropped all non-US cases, leaving two main disputes that still have a ways to go in courts. “I don’t think it’s over, but hopefully we’re getting close,” said Robert Stoll, a patent lawyer with Drinker Biddle in Washington who isn’t involved in the case. “They’ve got to learn to coexist in some shape or form. According to the settlement papers, Samsung has threatened to reclaim its payment in case of certain developments (for example, if the US Patent and Trademark Office rules any relevant Apple patents invalid).

The cost of litigation is large in amount of dollars, but not large compared with the amount of revenue they’re bringing in from the smartphones.” Apple isn’t conceding that Samsung would be entitled to any reimbursement, even if the pinch-to-zoom patent is invalidated. It’s also asking the trial judge in California to impose even greater damages for continued infringement of the company’s patents; Apple also wants $1.8 million in compensation for some of its costs. The appeals court that specialises in patent law in September said Apple can get a narrowly worded order that would block Samsung from using the inventions.

Samsung is asking the court to reconsider that decision, and has the backing of Google, Facebook, HTC and eBay, which say the ruling has created uncertainty and enables patent owners to extract unfairly large settlements.

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