Apple awarded $1bn in damages from Samsung in US court

Apple and Samsung phones Apple and Samsung make the bestselling smartphones in the market

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A US court has ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05bn (£665m) in damages for infringing intellectual property.

The jury decided several Samsung devices had infringed iPhone-maker Apple's software and design patents, but rejected counter-claims by Samsung.

Apple will now seek import bans on several of its rival's products. Samsung has said it will appeal.

Correspondents say the ruling is one of the most significant in a global battle over patents and intellectual property.

In recent weeks, a court in South Korea ruled that both technology firms had copied each other, while a British court threw out claims by the US company that Samsung had infringed its design rights.

But the year-long US case has involved some of the biggest damages claims, and is likely to shape the way patent licences are handled in the future.

'Monopoly' gibe

Samsung promised to appeal against the decision describing it as "a loss for the American consumer".

"It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices," the South Korean firm said.

The statement added that it was "unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners".

Product designer Geoff McCormick strips down an iPhone to explain patents

Apple, however, said it applauded the court "for finding Samsung's behaviour wilful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right".

Apple said it intended to seek sales injunctions at a follow-up hearing on 20 September

The two firms account for more than half of global smartphone and tablet computer sales.

The nine-person jury at the federal court in San Jose, California had to consider 700 questions about each side's claim that its rival had infringed its intellectual property.

It deliberated for less than three days before coming to a unanimous decision, rejecting all of Samsung's claims and upholding five of Apple's allegations, including:

  • Some of Samsung's handsets, including its Galaxy S 4G model, infringed Apple's design patents for the look of its iPhone including the system it uses to display text and icons
  • All the disputed Samsung devices had copied Apple's "bounce-back response", which makes lists jump back as if yanked by a rubber band
  • Several Samsung devices incorporated Apple's facility allowing users to zoom into text with a tap of a finger

Apple had wanted $2.5bn in damages. Samsung had sought $519m.

'Social cost'

Michael Gartenburg, research director at Gartner, told the BBC it could be a good thing for consumers in the long run because it would force Apple's competitors to innovate.

"Anyone who was even thinking about borrowing a technology or design from Apple will think twice about it now," he said.

Samsung Mesmerize, Galaxy Prevail and Infuse handsets The Mesmerize, Galaxy Prevail and Infuse were among the handsets found to have infringed Apple's patents

Other analysts point out that Apple could be the overall loser because the court case has helped boost Samsung's profile.

However, Christopher Marlett of investment bank MDB Capital Group said there was a "social cost" for Samsung.

"As a company, you don't want to be known as someone who steals from someone else," he said.

Apple remains one of the South Korean company's biggest customers buying computer chips and, reportedly, screens.

Sansung has already brought out a new generation of products that should avoid the patent issues.

But Apple said it still intended to seek sales injunctions at a follow-up hearing on 20 September.

It may also seek to use this ruling to block other devices powered by Google's Android software that it believes replicate elements of its user-interface, including current models by Samsung as well as other firms.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    "The nine-person jury at the federal court in San Jose, California had to consider 700 questions about each side's claim that its rival had infringed its intellectual property.

    It deliberated for less than three days before coming to its unanimous decisions."

    That seems an awfully quick time to review thoroughly 700 questions, and seems rather suspicious that they came to a unanimous decision

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    It funny now the US will always rule I favour of a US company

    Apple should have been heavily punished for its anti competitive behaviour when price fixing iTunes and only allowing apps to be downloaded from Apple app store,as it was possible from Amazon for this it shoud be fined at least 5bn

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    The American court ruled in favour of the American company - wasn't exactly a shock was it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    This makes a change! It was normally Apple being sued for infringement of patent. Creative won against them when they copied the Zen to make the original iPod. Luckily Xerox hadn't patented the GUI otherwise the Mac would never have been born.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    A very sad result. Apple clutching on to whatever they can to monopolize the market and the being back up by a jury in their own back yard. At east the South Korean court had the decency to stop both companies while it reviewed the real facts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    @72 back to the crazy house for you! Who would want a round or oval phone. Have you seen any?! A rectangular phone is common sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    This ruling is crazy, how can a "mobile device" be considered any different than a laptop, its just smaller?
    This stretchy icon is nothing more than a further move from the stretchy window, which was used in Linux circa 2006. Listening to music whist doing a task isn't new. And unless the iPhone was around in 2001, my sony phone had camera, email and could make calls?
    USA court backing USA product

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Can some one help!
    Baring in mind the size & financial resources of Apple why do they use Samsung for parts etc and help their bottom line and also in effect pay for their lawyers or $compensation from the courts?

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    MMMMM.. Apple were better when they sold Beatles records, or was that another time and another place?

    This whole case stinks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Samsung blatantly & brazenly went after a piece of market Apple developed but did not bother coming up with own original design concept.Could have made a round or oval device, used other colour scheme (to start). Instead deliberately mimicked the look & feel of an Apple device.Notice Google with Android didn't. Patent infringement is abusive crime. Such abuse akin to plagiarism (not file-sharing).

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    This could be the most superfluous patent in history

    A patent is meant to be an original idea, NOT a development of something everyone has known about since the mid 1980s

    The first touch screen was 1986

    PDAs and phones were merging by the early 1990s

    So WHAT exactly was original here????

    The lawyers are redefining innovation in the USA, lol

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Oh great Apple thinks everyone is copying it except the 2 companies that are failing (RIM and Nokia) This is not good for innovation or any consumers including Apple fans, no one is allowed to produce a good smart phone effectively so Apple have a monopoly and hence no reason to innovate. At least in South Korea the ruling made sense and said Apple cannot have a Monopoly of a generic idea

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Apple may have won this one. But I think Samsung holds all the cards. They make the chip and the display for Apple. I will expect that Samsung will not go quietly and Apple will have to find another contractor. If Apple seeks a trade block. Expect Samsung to breach its supply contract. The crippling of Apple sales for the next 3-5 years will do the damage. Apple can sue; but Samsung will be ahead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Apple have wilfully copied and stolen designs in the past and they will do so in the future, Jobs even said in relation to Apple development "good artists copy, great artists steal"

    Apple seem to think they invented the smart phone and touch screens. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants and the giant was around well before the iPhone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    IF anything this had made me dislike anything Apple even more. I hope Samsung et all make use of the general feeling against Apple. Though considering its the US I'm just surprised a preacher hasn't patented 'gods' design for the apple shape; and sued Apple !

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.


    Good thing the person who invented the wheel didn't sue...
    I am in the process of doing so in the name of my ancestor bob wheel who named the invention after himself. When i win ALL global products that use a wheel or wheel design will pay hommage to me and i shall rule the world!

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    @MatWin (55): Software is protected by copyright. The effort to implement a copy means that being first to market has always worked well in the past.

    That people could copy has forced companies to keep innovating. Look what happened to IE5 before Firefox came along. Now imagine if "Web Browser" had been patented.

    If "Spreadsheet" had been patented there'd be no MS Excel today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Remember 3 important designs :-
    Arm processor
    World wide web

    All British design origin

    Without them Apple or Samsung would be nowhere.


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