Apple versus Samsung $548M smartphone patent battle returns to court

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 14
As Apple and Samsung prepare to go head to head in court again, AppleInsider takes a look at the history of this particular long-running patent battle between the tech giants.

Apple and Samsung's litigation


In a San Jose, Calif., courtroom on Monday, Apple and Samsung will once again square off in their seemingly endless series of patent litigation battles. In what's expected to be a five-day trial in U.S. District Court, the court will determine the level of damages from the earlier litigation.

The case, like many others in the past, will be argued before Judge Lucy Koh, who for jurisdictional reasons has presided over various Apple-related cases, including multiple past Apple/Samsung trials. Koh's latest ruling was in Apple's favor, and involved the denial of a class action certification concerning the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s' so-called "Touch Disease."

The history of Apple and Samsung's legal confrontations is extensive and complex; at one point in 2012 the companies had more than 50 active lawsuits in at least 20 different countries, which is to say nothing of the various suits Apple filed against HTC and other Android device manufacturers. Most of the non-U.S. cases, however, were settled in 2014.

This particular case even inspired the false urban legend that Samsung had paid Apple $1 billion in nickels to settle a claim.

Apple and Samsung's present litigation dates back to 2011, when Apple sued Samsung alleging that they infringed on Apple's patents that are used in the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued not long after.

The first trial

The first trial took place in 2012 and was decided in Apple's favor, with the court finding that Samsung had violated Apple's patents for "Bounce-Back Effect," "Tap to Zoom," and others. Apple was awarded $1 billion in damages in August of that year.

Apple and Samsung appeared to reach a settlement in 2015, reducing the amount to $548 million, although the case continued through appeals.

By the time the settlement was reached, none of the 16 products named as infringing were on the market any longer.

"Article of manufacture"

In late 2016, the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In late December 2017, the court unanimously sided with Samsung, ruling that design patents only cover individual smartphone components, rather than the phone itself.

The Supreme Court ruling did not mean the case it was over. It was sent back down to a lower court for a damages re-determination, and that brings us to this week.

During the re-trial Samsung will not have to disprove that an entire smartphone is the "article of manufacture." Instead, Apple has the "burden of persuasion" to identify how the infringed patents apply to the whole product.

What to expect

Samsung has already paid the $548 million to Apple, and the "additional remedy" of $149 million in damages included in that are not being discussed. So, that leaves the remaining $399 million.

In total, Samsung sold nearly 11 million devices that infringed on Apple's patents -- a fact that is also not up for debate. The sale of those devices cranked out over $3 billion in revenue, so the Supreme Court ruling may not change the ruling that much, as the award is already less than the total value of the products. What it will come down to is how much Apple's usability and design patents contribute to the device's sales as a whole.

Top executives are not expected to testify. However, Apple's Greg Joswiak, designer and patent-holder Susan Kare, and Senior Director Richard Howarth are all expected to testify.

Judge Koh runs a tight ship. In previous trials, both parties were limited to a fixed period of time, to bring the trial to conclusion in a speedy fashion. Those rules haven't been detailed to the public as of yet, but closing arguments are expected on Friday.

Jury deliberation will take as long as it takes.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,058member
    Wheeeeeee!
  • Reply 2 of 15
    Judge Koh is the biggest obstacle in this trial.
    mwhitemacxpressolswatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 3 of 15
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,696member
    This is why Samesung flat out keeps copying Apple. Because they can drag this crap in court forever. Not only that, the fine they may get is nothing for what they copied and are using on their own hardware making them far more money. It's just using the system.
    olsracerhomie3watto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 4 of 15
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,211member
    I think we'll all be 6ft under and this trial will still be going on...even if its 50+yrs from now. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 3,390member
    Hey Apple, it's not nice to kick a dog when they're down.

    Apple has already won the war by utterly destroying Samsung in the mobile market.

    berndoggregg thurmanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    nunzynunzy Posts: 162member
    Judge Koh should step down. She hates Apple. Always did.
    jcallowslolliver
  • Reply 7 of 15
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,453member
    Why even bother with this trash. 

    (I don't mean Samsung here; nor any particular individual).
  • Reply 8 of 15
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,162member
    Apple Apple versus Samsung, season 9, episode 1:  Tim Cook woke up in the shower finding it was all but a dream in Pam‘s, err, Sir Jony‘s Head...
    adm1
  • Reply 9 of 15
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 732member
    “Jury deliberation will take as long as it takes.”

    What is the point of this sentence?  A = A
    edited May 14 georgie01
  • Reply 10 of 15
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,297moderator
    I wonder if Samsung continued to infringe any of the disputed patents in subsequent models.  If so, Apple could go back for more damages against those models.  And I recall there was a much longer list of patents Apple initially attempted to bring to trial, but the judge demanded they limit the number for a single trial.  Not that I’m suggesting Apple go back and hit Samsung with an additional list, however, if Samsung didn’t bother to stop infringing those patents that weren’t included in the first round, there would be long list of infringing phone models by now, with a very large number of units sold.  Hmm.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,440member
    I wonder if Samsung continued to infringe any of the disputed patents in subsequent models.  If so, Apple could go back for more damages against those models.  And I recall there was a much longer list of patents Apple initially attempted to bring to trial, but the judge demanded they limit the number for a single trial.  Not that I’m suggesting Apple go back and hit Samsung with an additional list, however, if Samsung didn’t bother to stop infringing those patents that weren’t included in the first round, there would be long list of infringing phone models by now, with a very large number of units sold.  Hmm.
    Some of the patents Apple originally claimed against Sammy have since been invalidated. That fact won't affect this retrial on damages tho. That's oddly how the law works. In any event those days of "just sue" are over IMHO. 
    edited May 14
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Hey Apple, it's not nice to kick a dog when they're down.

    Apple has already won the war by utterly destroying Samsung in the mobile market.

    In terms of numbers of phones shipped they have not especially in Europe (a market of some 500M people)
    Perhaps in your little corner of the planet Apple rules but in others it is all about price. Apple is a loser because of the cost of the device and/or people keeping their phones longer.
    I'll keep my iPhone 7 but possibly get an 8 just to keep the TouchID. FaceID is a waste of time if you are wearing protective headgear. 
  • Reply 13 of 15
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 368member
    Koh? Again??

    someone is seriously trying to protect Samsung. 

    Thas not right. 


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,162member
    I wonder if Samsung continued to infringe any of the disputed patents in subsequent models.  If so, Apple could go back for more damages against those models.  And I recall there was a much longer list of patents Apple initially attempted to bring to trial, but the judge demanded they limit the number for a single trial.  Not that I’m suggesting Apple go back and hit Samsung with an additional list, however, if Samsung didn’t bother to stop infringing those patents that weren’t included in the first round, there would be long list of infringing phone models by now, with a very large number of units sold.  Hmm.
    Now here’s an idea... ;)
  • Reply 15 of 15
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,008member
    Where's the MJ popcorn gif?
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