Samsung owes Apple $539 million in iPhone infringement case


A jury has told Samsung it must pay Apple $539 million for infringing on three design patents with Android phones sold between 2010 and 2011. The unanimous decision was made in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose, California. The number is significant because it’s higher than what Apple was likely to get based on past court decisions, according to Bloomberg

In what could be one of the final courtroom decisions in the decade’s old battle between Apple and Samsung over smartphone design patents, Apple had sought over $1 billion. This is the amount the iPhone maker was awarded initially in this case in 2012 before it went back to retrial over damages.

The three design patents covered in this case include rounded corners on phones, the rim that surrounds the face, and the grid of icons that users view. Two utility patents were also covered in the case.

In a statement following the verdict, Apple said:

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.

As Bloomberg explains, the basic question for the jury in this trial was:

Should Samsung have to pay damages based on sales of its smartphones or just their components that infringed the iPhone maker’s patents?

In 2012, Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in a similar case. Since then, that number dropped numerous times through the appeals process and adjustments. In 2016, Samsung agreed to pay some damages, but the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sent it back to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh with an order to revisit $399 million of that award.

Michael Risch, a law professor at Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania, called today’s verdict a “big win” for Apple and “big loss” for Samsung. He explained that after the U.S. Supreme Court,

Apple’s upside should have been capped at what it won before. Beating that number at trial is a huge victory given that the Supreme Court has theoretically ruled against it.

Representatives for Samsung have yet to comment on the court’s decision.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 11-cv-01846, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).