03
May
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The latest round of back-and-forth in the endless IP battle between Apple and Samsung is over, and the former has come out on top. According to an 8-person jury in the federal court, various Samsung phones and tablets, including the Galaxy S II and III, Galaxy Note, and Galaxy Nexus, infringed on three Apple patents. The jury awarded Apple $119.6 million USD in damages. 

Apple didn't have it all its own way: the jury also found that none of the Samsung phones presented violated two other Apple patents, and they awarded Samsung $158,400 after finding Apple guilty of unintentionally violating one of the Korean company's patents presented in a counter-suit. The counter-claim is a penance compared to the $120 million fine, but then again, Apple was initially asking for over two billion dollars in damages for all five patents. As usual in this sort of protracted intellectual property slugfest, both parties are likely to appeal for a better deal.

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This is the second high-profile court battle between Samsung and Apple, and while Sammy isn't exactly smelling of roses at the end, they're faring better than last time. At the end of the August 2012 trial (also presided over by Judge Lucy Koh), Apple was awarded a staggering $1.05 billion dollars after Samsung was found to have violated design patents and trade dress on the iPad and iPhone. That amount was later adjusted to $290 million after an appeal and retrial. Unlike the 2012 trial, there is no word of a sales injunction on Samsung hardware, though all of the phones in question are so old that it might not matter in any case. Also unlike the 2012 trial, what's at stake here are software patents, not design patents, which are much more technical and somewhat different from Samsung's admittedly dramatic use of Apple-style elements in early Galaxy hardware.

Just to put a little context on those dollar values: Samsung made $51.8 billion in the first quarter of this year, and Apple made $57.6 billion in the same time. Profits for the three-month period were $8.2 and $13.1 billion, respectively.

The jury dinged Samsung for violating three Apple patents: 5,946,647, the "quick links" patent which facilitates tapping a phone number or email address and having it open in the dialer or email app, et cetera; 8,046,721, the infamous "slide to unlock" patent; and 8,074,172, a word suggestion typing aid patent. The jury decided that Apple patents on universal search and background data sync where not violated. Samsung was awarded its small sum based on patent 6,226,449, which facilitates compact camera and microphone modules. Samsung patent 5,579,239, covering cellular video transmission, was ignored.

At this point, Apple and Samsung have been wrapped up in patent and trademark claims in various nations for over three years, and have been in nearly constant legal battle ever since. Apple has generally come out on top, especially in the two United States cases mentioned above. It's unlikely that there will be a break in the battle, or in the generally litigious nature of the consumer electronics market as a whole, any time soon.

Source: Recode

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Nasir Uddin

    They should be paid in pennies this time and not nickels.

    • remister

      I would donate a few pennies for that cause.

    • Walkop

      Canadian pennies, at that.

      *evil laugh*

      • ElfirBFG

        We don't have pennies.

        • Matt

          Well, not anymore. This would be a nice way to remove a lot of the old ones from circulation though.

        • Walkop

          I'm Canadian. That was the point. ;D

        • Jasper Guerrero

          i have a big one (LoL)

    • usaff22

      They should pay them in Zimbabwe Dollars.

  • Guest123

    I have a gate in my yard, will I have to pay apple for my bolt lock that requires me to "slide to unlock" it?

    • darkdude1

      If only that gate could sue Apple...

      • Guest123

        Well, it has been here since 1981. . . maybe I need to find the people who built it, and let them know apple is apeing their work.

  • Stephen McGann

    This one actually sounds like a win for Samsung. Any word on which patents it was that google offered to cover the legal expense for?

    • TK

      Any loss is a loss. Saying it's a win implies that Sammy actually deserved a higher fine, ergo they ripped off Apple.

  • Lemon Flowers

    what is the actual point of apple suing Samsung?

    • remister

      Because they can and for the lulz

  • Zimmerman

    Is this petty or not? IP is important, right?

    • Matthew Fry

      That's a good question. I don't think it's like trademark law where your active defense of the name determines the strength of your claim.

      • Zimmerman

        Interesting point. Why do you say that?

  • Rishabh

    That tag though
    "God I'm tired writing about this crap"
    Well I'm tired hearing about it.

  • KimberlyTMiranda

    The jury decided that Apple patents on universal search and background data sync where not violated. Samsung was awarded its small sum based on patent 6,226,449, which facilitates compact camera and microphone modules. Samsung patent 5,579,239, covering cellular video transmission, was ignored. http://www.myname.is/48342

  • darkdude1

    The patent system is so broken it's unreal, arguing over pointless things that mean absolutely nothing to further innovation. Please spend your time and efforts in making products better, not suing your competition for no purpose whatsoever.

    • Lalit Mali

      They have a purpose. They hate Samsung because Samsung is killing their sales and they can do nothing about it.

      • WallBreaker

        Exactly.

        For all the hate samsung receives from android users on these tech news comment sections, they really should be thanking Samsung. If it wasn't for samsung Android would not be at the level of popularity it is today.

        60% of android users use samsung devices, just over 3 short years samsung help android's OS explode in popularity. Also many people who started with samsung device eventually got exposed to other OEm's great devices such as HTC, Motorola, and Lg.

  • CharlieSheenSucks

    Sucks to be apple. Even patent trolls are awarded more than that ! SMH

  • flosserelli

    Pfffft. Samsung can find $128M between the sofa seat cushions in the executive lounge. But keep trolling, Apple, since that is what you do best. Maybe next time you will get a settlement that justifies the attorneys' fees.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    Apparently - I read elsewhere that Apple have spent roughly half what they were originally awarded (but haven't been paid) on lawyer fees alone...

    • Nathan Starr

      I was wondering the same thing.

    • Jack Dunn

      Its not about money now, its about eliminating the competition to mean more money in the future by monopolizing the market.

  • Android Developer

    Do the Samsung devices that were on trial even have a slide-to-unlock mechanism the way IOS has?
    As I remember, you can slide wherever on the screen you wish, and not just on a small scroller (or whatever it's called)...

    Also, does the previous trial really got finished with just 290 million instead of 1.05 billion ? How did they do it?

    • flosserelli

      I am sure Apple filed their patent with a description that was as nonspecific yet all-encompassing as possible, to ensure that any swiping gesture could be included.

      • Android Developer

        Then what does it mean for other devices, including even Nexus?
        They have it too...
        And what's the difference between slide and swipe?

        • flosserelli

          Apple sued Samsung because Samsung is Apple's only real competition. The combined sales of all Nexus devices are a drop in the bucket compared to total iphone sales.

          As I explained above, Apple tends to patent everything using as nonspecific wording as possible in order to maximize potential encroachments (and future lawsuits).

          • Android Developer

            ok.
            So there is no difference between swipe and slide, right?

          • flosserelli

            In Apple's eyes, probably not.

          • http://www.google.com/ Roshan

            I don't think Apple will go in war with Google directly. Well not anytime soon. Most of the software patent infringements are related to Android and it's features. But Apple it too smart to go after a US software giant but they are targeting phone vendors one by one.

            Also, some of the patents are useless. "quick links" patent to open phone number in dialer, or email link in email app directly. These are standard essential patents now days. Lots of these patents should be nullified now. US patent office should review such old patents and nullify them in consumer benefit.

            Too bad, Apple is continuously being a bitch about it.

        • Matthew Fry

          IIRC the patent is for sliding a graphic from one location to another to unlock the device. Vanilla Android has a shimmer effect to get around that.

          • Android Developer

            but as i can see, so does Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 unlock screens.
            Nothing moves there when sliding.

          • http://www.google.com/ Roshan

            Yes, your finger is.
            Apple have a button to swipe to unlock iPhone. Samsung need you to swipe your finger to unlock.

          • Android Developer

            my finger moves even on the Nexus lock screen, as it does on most lock screens.
            the swiping on SGS is done anywhere on the screen, and not just on a button...

  • Stani

    american jury awards money to american company lol no chans for samsung

    • mobilemann

      samsung won money too. South korean judges have done the same thing (penalties for both sides)

  • cooldoods

    Too bad the jury spent more time deliberating whether both companies infringed on the other company's patents than actually wondering if maybe some of those patents are actually invalid.

    • Rob

      Exactly. Making better smartphones is supposed to be a competition, not whining if that phone is "breaking" 298123719491 of "your" patents, which companies buy off other people in the first place..

  • My name is….

    Meanwhile in america....

  • Evan

    What's that? We have a competitor? SUE THEM! The patent system is a joke, protection for invention definitely needs to be in place but the electronics side of things is a joke. Having the dialer pop up when you press a phone number is logical, not an invention.

    • Zomby2D

      And it's been done since 2006 by Skype on every browser. I had a look at the patent and it's so generic that it could mean pretty much anything.

  • Funem

    Swipe to unlock was on the Neo Node N1 which was out a long long time before it appeared on an Apple device. Apple did not get the patent in any other country except the US as because of the Neo Node N1 it was refused. The US granted the patent and Apple sue for breach of it in the US.

    Check the video here, made before the iPhone was released.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj-KS2kfIr0

    • Funem

      Check the video at the 4:10 mark.
      Don't forget this phone was out over two years before the iPhone

    • dude

      I didn't even know he have a channel. Cool.

      • dude

        I didn't even know it's a she. Wow.

    • Mikeb3ll

      There's your problem, she said you 'sweep' from right to left.

      Apple spent millions in R&D and found that 'swiping' from right to left was revolutionary, different and patentable!

  • John the Dude

    Every company copies to some extent. Apple took the mouse from Xerox back in the day, Windows ripped off Mac, etc etc. Unless they call it the Samsung iPhone, these lawsuits only make lawyers rich, and don't do anything else. It's like 50 million in lawyer's fees alone. Imagine what any commenter here could do with a fraction of that money. Apple would be served better by just making the bigger iphone, and create new products we all love. (I love my Macbook Pro by the way, so I'm not an Apple hater at all!)

  • mustafa

    Don't all phones now a days have these features?

    • Zomby2D

      Yes. And Apple will gladly sue every phone maker that makes a dent in their market share.

  • Billy

    I thought Google was helping Samsung on this?

  • Kurt Schultz

    I don't understand why and how the Galaxy Nexus fell under this lawsuit as the Nexus does not have any Samsung software on it. Just goes to show that the jury had no idea what the hell they were doing.

    • Zomby2D

      It's generic patents on things that every single computerized devices do. Having a link with a phone number open the dialer, sliding with your finger to unlock the device, and completing words as you type them.

  • Matthew Wooller

    The counter-claim is a penance compared to the $120 million fine...

    Pittance?

  • Milton

    Ok Sammy, it was proved that you stole other's ideas again, now just pay for being a thief

    • Zomby2D

      Except every patent they "broke" were generic things done by the OS, developed by Google.

      • Milton

        Who cares, the court said Samsung has to pay, according to the law, Samsung is the thief

        • CoreRooted

          Meanwhile, in the real world; Steve Jobs quoted "Good artists copy; great artists steal.".

          • Milton

            Yeah, Jobs was only a sick bastard who never had an idea of his own, another simple thief, in my opinion, he deserved the death he had

  • Vardan Nazaretyan

    Guess how many people from the jury have an iPhone?

  • blix247

    This went almost as bad as it possibly could have for Apple. They got denied when they asked to add newer phones to the list, so there went any valuable injunctions. They wanted a huge award to force Samsung to give up twenty percent of device revenue for license fees. There is no way that is on the table anymore. Apple probably didn't even cover legal fees. They will either have to try again or start asking a reasonable license fee.

  • Obama’s tranny wife

    Apple and Samsung need to stop these patent wars, Apple you have lost
    your dominance in the smartphone market, your phones are for kiddies and
    stupid adults, get used to it, Android is owning you, you will fail if
    you cannot innovate, quit wasting money on these silly lawsuits, nobody
    wants to pay for your overpriced crap, I can get 2-3 high quality
    Android tablets for the price of one iPad. Also to Android and Apple,
    we don't want 8gb 16gb 32gb options with no SD CARD. We want a minimum
    of 32gb on all our devices with expandable memory. I shouldnt have to
    pay another $100 for each 8GB you step it up, that is playing F-ing
    retarded!

  • WallBreaker

    Apple lost this, 119 Million is only 5% of what they were actually expecting. 119 Million is pennies to these massive corporations.

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