Apple and Samsung have been fighting it out in the courts for months — the fight started in the US, when Apple claimed Samsung "slavishly" copied the iPhone, but since then it's spread out around the world, with both sides jockeying for position. Considering the stakes involved, this wrangling is bound to go on for some time — we'll keep track of all the latest right here.
Jun 27, 2018
Apple and Samsung have finally put an end to their long-running 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 a settlement. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.Read Article >
The patent battle started in 2011 and initially resulted in a $1 billion ruling in Apple’s favor. But it didn’t end there. A series of appeals pushed the dispute to the Supreme Court and back, as the companies continually rehashed which patents were infringed and, more recently, exactly how much Samsung owes Apple because of the infringement.
Oct 23, 2017
The patent battle between Apple and Samsung over who owns the concept of smartphones with round corners (among other things) is back for another trial. The lawsuit was originally settled in 2012, with a court ordering Samsung to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages. This figure was whittled down over the years by Samsung’s lawyers (it currently stands at $400 million) but a recent successful appeal from the South Korean electronics giant means the figure will now be reassessed at trial once again.Read Article >
The judgement was made yesterday by Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, with the ruling spotted and shared on patent blog Foss Patents. Apple and Samsung now have until October 25th to propose a date for the retrial, although Mueller suggests there is a 30 percent chance that the two companies will settle out-of-court instead. Although there’s still a lot of money on the table, both sides have proved their willingness to go to the mats on this issue (an important signal to send out to future would-be litigators). They also have bigger fish to fry — namely an upcoming legal battle with Qualcomm, in which Apple and Samsung will be fighting on the same side.
Dec 6, 2016
The Supreme Court has overturned Apple's $400 million award in its long-running patent lawsuit against Samsung. Apple won the case in 2012, convincing a federal court that a number of Samsung devices had infringed upon iPhone design patents — including one for a rectangular device with rounded corners and bezels, and another for a home screen comprised of a grid of colorful apps. The Supreme Court’s decision today does not reverse Apple’s win, but does mean that the case will be returned to the Federal Circuit so that the damages can be reassessed.Read Article >
The Supreme Court’s judgement is complicated, but hinges on the method by which damages are calculated for cases involving the infringement of design patents. The $400 million won by Apple was based on a percentage of the entire profit Samsung made from its infringing smartphones. But, the South Korean company argued that this figure shouldn’t be based on the entire profit, but only part of the profit, as only part of the phone’s design was copied from Apple. The Supreme Court agreed that damages could be calculated this way — but it declined to say whether they should be in this particular case.
Aug 20, 2015
It's been three years since Samsung lost its multimillion-dollar patent battle against Apple, but the South Korean company is still trying to forestall the judgement. After the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Samsung's plea to reconsider a ruling upholding the case's damages, the Galaxy phone maker has decided to turn to the US Supreme Court for help. On Wednesday, Samsung filed court papers asking the nation's highest court to weigh in on the protracted legal battle.Read Article >
May 18, 2015
Apple and Samsung's patent infringement battle isn't over, and in the latest ruling, neither side has gotten exactly what it wanted. In a filing posted today, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reaffirmed that Samsung had copied specific design patents in Apple's iPhone. But the court decided that Samsung wasn't infringing on Apple's overall trade dress — the look and feel of its phones. This means that while the damages Apple was granted for patent infringement will stand, the company's overall $930 million award will be downsized.Read Article >
The court's analysis hinged on the idea that trade dress had to be based on aesthetic decisions meant to make something visually distinctive, and that rules protecting it have to be balanced with "a fundamental right to compete through imitation of a competitor’s product." While Apple argued that the iPhone's rounded rectangle shape and rows of square apps were designed to give it a particular look that fit Apple's brand, the court cited Apple's previous claims that the shape was also easier to use. The same went for its app icons, which were attractive but also meant to make the iPhone more intuitive.
Mar 5, 2014
The latest twist in a legal dispute between Apple and Samsung is a strange one: after a court fined Samsung for revealing confidential information about Apple, Samsung now says that Apple accidentally revealed that very same information about itself — and in an even more public fashion. The dispute centered on a licensing agreement between Apple and Nokia that Samsung's lawyers accidentally leaked to the company's employees. While a court found that this did happen, Samsung wants to see its fine reduced on the grounds that Apple apparently leaked those very same documents too.Read Article >
Samsung says that Apple published the licensing agreement in a public docket back in October and left it there for about four months. During that time, Apple is said to have published other confidential agreements too, including some dealing with Google and Samsung itself. Apple apparently discovered that it had done this and removed the documents after an investigation last month. "Apple's repeated disclosure of [confidential business information] warrants some investigation," Samsung writes in a motion.
Feb 22, 2014
First rumored in the Korean press last month, Apple and Samsung have now said in a filing with the US district court that they've been unable to amicably resolve a new round of patent disputes after having agreed in January to try mediation before going to court. That doesn't come as much of a surprise: the two companies have found very little common ground in a series of intellectual property disputes that led to a billion-dollar judgment against Samsung in 2012. The latest talks are said to have gone all the way to the top, roping in both Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung Mobile boss JK Shin.Read Article >
The mediation effort covered a newer set of devices that Apple claims infringes on its intellectual property, which — as The Wall Street Journal notes — could eventually lead to even higher damages than before as Samsung's smartphone and tablet sales have exploded in recent years. Now that they've walked away from the negotiating table with absolutiely nothing to show for it, the consumer electronics giants are now slated to head to court in March for what could be the biggest legal battle of the year for the tech industry.
Feb 14, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung's mobile chief and co-CEO JK Shin reportedly met last week to try and thrash out a settlement to their long-running intellectual property dispute. The meeting, while unconfirmed by either party, is being reported by multiple Korean news outlets and adheres to the companies' promise to try and come to an amicable agreement before resuming their legal antagonism next month.Read Article >
Sources indicate that the mediation effort was unproductive, which comes as no surprise given the history of animosity between Apple and Samsung and the fact that similar talks were fruitless back in 2012.
Feb 7, 2014
The US Justice Department announced today that it will close its investigation into Samsung's use of patents to attack rivals like Apple. This decision comes after Samsung filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple at the US International Trade Commission and won an order in June 2013 to ban the sale of some iPhone and iPad models in the US. The ban was vetoed by President Obama last August, and now the Justice Department is stating that it sees no reason for the investigation to continue.Read Article >
The Department of Justice has been investigating Samsung's use — and potential misuse — of "standards-essential patents" (SEPs) for years now. Companies have to license these kinds of patents to rivals under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, but the Department of Justice became concerned when Samsung appeared to be using the threat of import bans to raise licensing rates. Doing so would undermine the principles of FRAND, and potentially compromise competition in the open market in the process.
Jan 30, 2014
Samsung and Apple's drawn-out legal battle has been so contentious that the two companies spent the last few months in court fighting over the events of the trial itself. In November, Judge Paul Grewal found that Samsung's legal team had likely violated a court order by distributing a legal report that contained confidential information from Apple and Nokia licensing agreements. On Wednesday, Grewal affirmed his earlier decision and ordered Samsung to pay Apple and Nokia's court costs for the case, but he stopped short of imposing sanctions that would hit Samsung with more than merely monetary losses.Read Article >
Samsung attorney John Quinn said the team had simply failed to redact some details from a report prepared by legal expert David Teece before sending it to Samsung executives and employees. Grewal noted that even if the error was inadvertent, Quinn had learned afterwards that it contained confidential information and failed to either stop its spread or tell Apple and Nokia about the leak. He took Quinn to task for managing a team without enough oversight to catch and fix problems, and for waiting over two weeks after Nokia had filed suit against Samsung to tell Apple about the leak, "as though hoping that would make the problem go away."
Jan 22, 2014
Judge Lucy Koh has struck two blows against Samsung in its ongoing lawsuit with Apple. In a ruling on Tuesday, Koh ruled that Samsung was infringing on one patent, and she invalidated one of the patents it was preparing to bring against Apple in court. Specifically, the keyboard found on the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, and several other older devices officially violates an Apple autocorrect patent, which covers Android's system of displaying both what the user is typing and what the system thinks they meant to type.Read Article >
Samsung argued that Apple's patent could only refer to a hardware keyboard, not the "soft" one used on both iOS and Android. But this claim didn't hold water, and Koh found the infringement so clear that she granted Apple summary judgment, which means Samsung will need to prove the patent is invalid in order to win. If Apple comes out victorious, this isn't just a problem for Samsung: Google will have to work around the judgment in order to make sure Android as a whole isn't left open to lawsuits.
Jan 9, 2014
Apple and Samsung have agreed to attend a mediation session by February 19 to resolve their seemingly never-ending disputes over smartphone patents, according to a court filing first reported by Reuters.Read Article >
The two companies are set to go to trial in March if they can't settle their issues out of court. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon are slated to attend the session with their in-house legal counsel.
Nov 9, 2013
A judge has determined that Samsung probably violated a court-ordered agreement to keep Apple documents secret, the latest snit in the epic patent battle between the companies that started in the summer of 2012.Read Article >
Oct 23, 2013
There was plenty of outrage, but little in the way of resolution, as attorneys for Apple and Samsung traded blows over allegations that Samsung's legal team intentionally shared confidential information from Apple's patent licensing agreements. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal heard the arguments in San Jose, California today, with Apple's legal team looking for sanctions against Samsung and its outside counsel, the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.Read Article >
As part of the discovery process in the epic legal struggles between the two companies, Apple had handed over patent licensing agreements with Nokia, Ericsson, Sharp, and Philips. Those documents, marked "Attorney Eyes' Only," were considered confidential, but it's standard practice in these kind of circumstances for companies to provide documents under the court-ordered mandate that they not be shared with anyone outside the legal team in question.
Jun 27, 2013
A San Jose court has denied Apple's attempt to add the Galaxy S4 to its patent case against Samsung. In a statement yesterday, Judge Paul S. Grewal said that adding a new product to the case would fly in the face of Judge Lucy Koh's previous instruction to minimize the scope of the lawsuit. "Each time these parties appear in the courtroom, they consume considerable amounts of the court's time and energy," he wrote, "which takes time away from other parties who also require and are entitled to the court's attention."Read Article >
Apple's second US lawsuit against Samsung — following a dramatic win in the first trial last year — currently covers the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Nexus among several other phones and tablets. In mid-May, Apple proposed to add the recently released Galaxy S4 and drop its claim against another Samsung product, leaving the total number changed. It argued that the S4 presented a clearer threat to Apple's intellectual property, and that substituting it for another device wouldn't be unduly onerous.
Apr 3, 2013
Apple received some bad news last Friday regarding its infamous bounce-back patent, US 7,469,381. That's one of the technical utility patents Samsung was found to infringe at trial, and it's been the subject of a formal reexamination process at the US Patent and Trademark Office since last July. In October each and every claim of the '381 patent was initially rejected. On Friday, however, the USPTO issued what's called a "final" action in the reexamination — again rejecting nearly all of the patent claims, including the one asserted against Samsung at trial. "Final" has a fatal ring to it, but it's far less conclusive than that. While the issuance of a final rejection signals the end of this particular phase of the proceedings, we're still a long way from knowing which patent claims will ultimately survive the process.Read Article >
This final office action is the next step, and there are still a few procedural options available to Apple, as it pointed out in a recent court filing. First, Apple will file a response to the final action in an attempt to get the USPTO to change course. If that doesn't work (and it often doesn't), then an appeal up the chain to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board will occur. If that doesn't result in a substantive reversal of the rejections, then there's always the option of appealing to the courts — namely, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Basically, we're at the bottom of the fourth inning.
Jan 31, 2013
Last year a judge granted an injunction on Samsung's Galaxy Nexus as part of a new round of legal battles between Apple and Samsung — a sales ban that was then reversed by an appeals court last October. Apple had asked the court to reconsider, but Reuters is now reporting it has has been denied. In an order today, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit noted that it was rejecting Apple's request for an en banc review — a reconsideration of the sales ban by all nine judges of the Appeals Court. It's important to note that such a review is rare, so the move doesn't come as a complete surprise.Read Article >
The dispute in question is based around Apple's '604 patent, which both the company and the district court believe is infringed by unified search as implemented on the Galaxy Nexus. To justify the injunction, Apple would have to demonstrate that consumer demand for the Nexus was directly tied to the infringing feature — a tough standard to meet given the variety of features available on modern smartphones. That said, Cupertino does have one more option available: it could appeal to the Supreme Court itself. While it's not likely Apple's request would be accepted, one thing's for certain — the company has proven to be nothing if not tenacious.
Dec 28, 2012Read Article >
Samsung scored a win today, as Apple agreed in a court filing to pull its infringement claims against the Galaxy S III Mini. The device had been accused along with an assortment of other devices in the second legal battle the two companies are engaged in with Judge Lucy Koh. Apple had included the Galaxy S III Mini because it was available for sale through Amazon.com, but Samsung argued that the device had not been officially released in the United States, and therefore shouldn't be covered. Predicated upon Samsung's word that the company was not selling the phone directly in the US, Apple agreed to drop it from the list of accused devices. It's important to note that this kind of jostling is common at this stage of the game, with both companies ironing out which devices will be included in the pending trial. That said, the Mini isn't clear just yet — Apple may still be able to include the device if Samsung reverses its stance and decides to sell the phone domestically.
Samsung had hoped allegations of juror misconduct would win it a do-over in the Apple v. Samsung case, but tonight Judge Lucy Koh put those aspirations to rest by denying its request. Samsung had accused jury foreman Velvin Hogan of intentionally hiding information about a lawsuit he was involved in with Seagate. Samsung recently became a primary shareholder of the company, providing Hogan a reason to be biased. As such, the company had asked for an evidentiary hearing — in which all of the jury members would be brought back to the courtroom to be questioned about what impact Hogan had on deliberations — as well as a new trial.Read Article >
In tonight's court filing, Judge Koh wrote that the discovery problem was the fault of Samsung's legal team. Hogan admitted he worked for Seagate during the jury selection process, she wrote, providing Samsung with ample opportunity to discover the litigation if the company's team had "acted with reasonable diligence."
In a court filing this evening, Judge Lucy Koh has denied Apple's request for a permanent sales ban on 26 Samsung products found to have infringed its patents in a jury verdict this past August. Writing that "this Court has already performed significant irreparable harm analysis in this case," Koh concluded that Apple didn't establish the case for a permanent injunction on Samsung's products. Apple needed to prove that the infringing features were what were directly driving "consumer demand for the accused product" in order to obtain the ban, but that bar was too high.Read Article >
Neither statements about broad categories, nor evidence of copying, nor the conjoint survey provides sufficiently strong evidence of causation. Without a causal nexus, this Court cannot conclude that the irreparable harm supports entry of an injunction."The ruling isn't a surprise, and means that the case will continue on its current trajectory — especially considering Koh also denied Samsung's request for a new trial based on the jury foreman's alleged misconduct. Apple had also requested additional damages of over a half-billion dollars on top of the $1.049 billion Samsung had already lost, but Koh said that that "enhancement request" would be addressed in another order.
Nov 24, 2012
Shortly after Samsung accused Apple of infringing patents with the iPad mini and other new products, Apple has fired back, asking to add the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S III with Android 4.1, and four other products to the latest lawsuit. While Apple has already added some of the devices, like the S III, to its suit, they've since received software updates, leading to another round of requested inclusions. The Galaxy S III mini, Samsung Rugby Pro, Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi, and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 round out the list.Read Article >
Other patent infringement cases have already been decided in favor of either Apple or Samsung, with the former winning a US trial decisively earlier this year. However, this case could drag into 2014, with hearings expected early next year. So far, the case covers the iPhone 5, Galaxy Note 10.1, and all versions of the Galaxy Nexus running 4.1 Jelly Bean; US Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal will have to decide whether to allow additional products from the two companies.
Samsung successfully added the iPhone 5 to its newest patent battle with Apple, and today the company accused several more of Cupertino's products of infringement — including the iPad mini. In a court filing today, the company asked to include Apple's 7.9-inch tablet along with the latest versions of the iPod Touch and iPad; all of the devices are accused of infringing the same patents already in play in the case.Read Article >
Apple won a jury verdict in a courtroom fight between the two companies earlier this year, but this second lawsuit will likely go to trial sometime next year. Apple has accused the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy S III, and an assortment of other products thus far, while Samsung has returned with its own accusations in kind. While these latest devices won't be officially included until the request is approved by US Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal, there is little reason to think they won't make it in, raising the stakes for Apple — and ramping up the pressure to settle just that much more.
Earlier this month Samsung asked that the court force Apple to turn over its settlement agreement with HTC, and today US Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal granted that requested. According to Samsung, the document could play a vital role in determining whether it will need to take any of its products off the market in the wake of the $1.049 billion verdict Apple won back in August. If Apple licensed some of its unique user experience patents, Samsung argues, then Cupertino is clearly fine with competitors using that IP as long as it receives money in return — and since Apple will be receiving a payout in connection with the verdict, the extra step of an injunction isn't justified.Read Article >
Apple's attorneys had previously agreed to share a version of the agreement that redacted the financial terms of the settlement; in a hearing today Samsung argued that the fees HTC is paying Apple indicate how much consumer demand there is for those features covered by the patents. While Judge Grewal did write that he was "more than a little skeptical" of Samsung's argument, he nevertheless ordered Apple to turn over the document. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear the details of the agreement will surface anytime soon, as it is being handed over subject to an "Attorneys-Eyes-Only" designation — basically, nobody but Samsung's legal team will get a look.
Earlier this week HTC and Apple put an end to their patent disagreements, and now Samsung is hoping to use that fact to prevent its own devices from being taken off the market. In a court filing today, Samsung asked the court to force Apple to turn over a copy of its settlement agreement to see which patents are covered in the deal. Specifically, Samsung wants to know if Apple licensed any of the patents that it was found to have infringed — including the bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom patents. If so, the company argues, Apple's request that infringing Samsung products be removed from the market falls apart, because Apple was happy to "forego exclusivity in exchange for money" — and in this instance, Apple is already receiving money in the form of a hefty $1.049 billion verdict.Read Article >
During the Apple vs. Samsung trial earlier this year, Apple's Director of Patent Licensing and Strategy, Boris Teksler, stated that while Apple does license its standards-essential and computing patents, "we strongly desire not to license" the patents the cover its user experience. In Apple's mind, Teksler, said, no company would even need to license that particular set of intellectual property unless it wanted to build a clone of one of Apple's devices.
Over the last few months both Apple and Samsung have been asking to include additional products in their latest courtroom confrontation, and today both parties got what they wanted. In an order filed today, US Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal granted Samsung's request to include the iPhone 5 as one of its accused products; the company contends that Apple's latest flagship phone infringes on several of its standards-essential patents and several feature-specific patents. In kind, Apple will be able to name several products it's been anxious to accuse — including the Galaxy Note 10.1, all versions of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean that were distributed on the Galaxy Nexus, and the Galaxy S III.Read Article >
Each of the companies had previously requested the products be included, but needed Grewal to agree before they could officially become part of the case. There's always the chance that additional products could still find their way in, but it appears that the playing field has finally taken shape. While Apple won a $1.049 billion verdict back in August, this second case has actually been going on since February of this year, with Cupertino originally accusing a handful of tablets, Galaxy S II variants, and the Galaxy Nexus of infringement. Of course, it's not certain that this case will end up going to trial — Apple and HTC settled their differences just days ago, after all — but for the moment it doesn't look like either company has any intention of backing down.