Apple & Samsung’s iPhone Patent War Is Finally Settled

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Apple and Samsung have reportedly put their bad blood behind them on the legal matter of whether or not the latter copied the former in order to gain an early advantage in an immature smartphone market, The Verge reports. Judge Lucy Koh has stated that the two bitter competitors had reached out to her, informing her that they had managed to come to a mutually agreeable settlement. Neither the amount of the settlement nor the terms thereof were further disclosed.

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The legal fracas began at the beginning of the decade in 2011, with Apple taking Samsung to task in the legal arena over allegations that the South Korean technology giant had copied several patented and iconic features of their revolutionary iPhone in an effort to ride the tailwinds.

Apple’s complaints ranged from the similar shape and contour of their respective product lines in the physical sense to the rows of colorful icons arranged in a grid pattern that was the cornerstone of the user interface experience.

While taken individually, the allegations may seem spurious and too broad to consider as strong legal arguments – when bundled together in a package of complaints showing a pattern of copy-cat behavior in order to both leech from the incipient smash-hit popularity of the iPhone as well as to distance Samsung from other members of a blooming industry – the same allegations may feel more compelling.

A judge agreed, and Apple was awarded the suit for an initial sum of just over $1 billion dollars a year later in 2012, according to The Verge. Samsung would contest the decision, filing a number of high-level legal appeals that dragged the case out and diminished the initial award from the 2012 decision to $539 million as of this year, prior to this most recent development.

Featured image credit: Nebojsa Markovicshutterstock

This is not the only patent battle fought between these two industry leaders. A patent suit surrounding Apple’s “slide to unlock” feature saw Samsung awarded $120 million in damages in 2014 and only reaching judicial conclusion last year. This is in addition to several entanglements in the form of international lawsuits that both parties agreed to drop or settle in 2014, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Apple declined to make any comment on the matter beyond referring to an earlier statement it had made in response to a legal ruling in May.

“We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers. This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple. We’re grateful to the jury for their service and pleased they agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products.”

Samsung declined to comment entirely.

Whether or not this financial restitution signals the end of a stream of seemingly endless legal sparring between Samsung and Apple remains uncertain. Apple and Samsung remain fixtures in the smartphone market, with Apple being heavily reliant on the components manufactured by the South Korean business in order to manufacture its own product lines.