Jury orders Samsung to pay $539m to Apple

A US jury has decided that Samsung must pay Apple $539m (€462m) in damages in the latest twist of a legal battle that began in 2011.

Apple contends that Samsung would not have emerged as the world’s leading seller of smartphones if it had not ripped off the technology powering the pioneering iPhone in developing a line of devices running on Google’s Android software.

Previous rulings already determined that Samsung infringed on some of Apple’s patents, but the amount of damages owed has been hanging in legal limbo.

Apple had argued it was owed more than $1bn, while Samsung contended that the $399m should be slashed to $28m. The revised damages figure represents a victory for Apple, even though it is not as much as the Cupertino, California, company had sought.

“Today’s decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favour of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages,” Samsung said in a statement.

“We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers.”

An eight-person jury came up with the amount following a one-week trial and four days of deliberation in a San Jose, California, federal courthouse.

Apple expressed gratitude to the jury for agreeing “that Samsung should pay for copying our products”.

“This case has always been about more than money,” a company statement said. 

“Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design.”

With the issue now solely focused on what Samsung must pay in damages, the decision will not impact Samsung in terms of the phones it makes and sells today.

The patents and apparent infringements around them are based on devices that are no longer made and sold, so the ruling is unlikely to have an impact on Samsung’s current and future smartphone manufacturing.

Financially, the latest figure awarded represents a substantial amount of money, but in the long run is unlikely to greatly hinder the technology giant — its most recent quarterly financial results reported a net profit of more than $10bn.

Samsung has not confirmed yet whether it intends to appeal against the decision, saying in a statement after the ruling that it will “consider all options”, leaving open the possibility that the dispute could rumble on further.

The firm added that it hopes to “obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers”.


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