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Apple wins $539 million from Samsung in latest chapter of ongoing patent trial

Apple wins $539 million from Samsung in latest chapter of ongoing patent trial


Is it over yet?

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The latest twist in the ongoing, seven-year-old smartphone patent trial between Apple and Samsung awards the iPhone maker a final verdict of $539 million in damages, according to Bloomberg. Jurors awarded Apple the verdict in federal court in San Jose, California today, concluding that Samsung infringed on Apple design and utility patents covering aspects of mobile design like rounded corners, the rim of the front face of the iPhone, and the now-iconic app grid layout of the iOS home screen.

“We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers,” Apple said in a statement given to Bloomberg. “This case has always been about more than money.” Effectively, the jury was deciding whether Samsung owed Apple money based on sales of their smartphones or the components that infringed on Apple’s patents, as Bloomberg points out.

The case has been ongoing since 2011, and the countless appeals and verdicts have made it one of the most complex corporate patent infringement trials in the history of the technology industry. Apple initially demanded Samsung pay $2.5 billion when the lawsuit began in 2011, but that figure was reduced to less than $1 billion in the initial 2012 verdict in Apple’s favor. An appeals court ruled Apple could not legally trademark the iPhone’s appearance in May of 2015, which meant Samsung was forced to pay only around $548 million. Samsung paid that amount in December 2015 after both companies agreed in 2014 to drop litigation outside of the US.

Since then, a series of appeals have kept the case moving through federal court in California, resulting in a string of retrial attempts from Samsung that ultimately were aimed at trying to further reduce Apple’s monetary awards. One of two final cases between the tech giants concluded in November of last year, pertaining to the iOS slide-to-unlock patent and resulting in an award of $120 million to Apple.

Now with damages decided on this final case — itself a version of the original $1 billion Apple patent win from 2012 that has been moved through a number of reductions and appeals — the confounding legal web between these two companies should be nearing a close.