In the latest leg of their years-long courtroom debacle, Samsung on Thursday was ordered by a federal grand jury to pay Apple approximately $539 million pursuant with their ongoing dispute in which Apple originally accused its South Korean friend and foe of iPhone patent infringement.
It took the jury about four days to reach a resolution after the latest proceedings kicked off earlier this month, and the decision was handed down awarding Apple an estimated $533,316,606 for Samsung’s infringement on several of the iPhone-maker’s design patents, with an additional $5.3 million being awarded over the infringement of two Apple utility patents.
Immediately following the verdict, a member of Samsung’s legal counsel, John Quinn, allegedly informed the Hon. Judge Lucy Koh that he “had some issues with the verdict” which would be discussed in post-trial motions, according to Apple Insider.
Apple v Samsung Patent War
The verdict handed down this week is merely a continuation of Apple’s original dispute with Samsung over the South Korean firm’s willful infringement of key iPhone design patents. While previous judgments dating as far back as 2012 awarded Apple a cool $1 billion for Samsung’s infringement of several Apple design and utility patents, the case has ultimately been passing through the court and appeals systems for the last several years.
Back in 2015, another jury overseeing the case ultimately reduced Samsung’s original $1 billion liability to around $548 million — an amount which Apple contested, sending the case back through the court system again.
And in late 2016, the case was even laid out before the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled in Samsung’s favor. All five SCOTUS judges said in their closing arguments that “design patents only cover individual smartphone components” — and not the entire mobile device — a conclusion which sent the case back to a the lower court system for a damages re-assessment.
As part of the latest trial, which kicked off on May 14 in California’s Northern District Court in San Jose, Samsung’s objective was no longer to disprove that entire smartphones are an “article of manufacture,” but instead, Apple was challenged to convince the court that the infringed patents apply to the whole product, rather than its individual components.
A newly organized federal grand jury oversaw the case, but it was determined as part of previous trials that Samsung actually violated a number of Apple patents, including those covering UI elements like the “Bounce-Back Effect” and “Tap to Zoom,” as well as key physical design patents relating to aesthetics.
As such, the jury’s job was not to determine whether the infringement actually took place, but to put a monetary value on how much Samsung owes Apple.
Samsung’s chief accountant, Michael J. Wagner, confirmed with the court that his company made $3.3 billion on the sale of 8.6 million smartphones which were found to have infringed Apple’s design patents — however that figure considers Samsung’s infringing devices as a whole, as opposed to a slab of interworking components.
“The Apple design patents do not cover anything on the inside of the phones. They don’t even cover the entire outside,” Samsung’s legal counsel pleaded in their closing statements, adding that “Under the law, Apple is not entitled to profits of any article of manufacture to which the design was not applied.”