Following the fires caused by the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung now has to pay $120 million to Apple for infringement of design patents.
The court ratified the jury’s verdict that deemed Samsung’s “slide to unlock” feature and the “quick link” features as originally designed by Apple. The decision took place on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., in an 8-3 ruling where the case was refiled as it was shut down in February.
Tech giants fighting for design patents
The lawsuit took place in May 2014, when Samsung was prompted to pay for implementing Apple’s features without the rightful legal permits. On the other hand, Apple received a counter-lawsuit regarding the smartphone gallery, resulting in a $158,400 settlement for damages.
The “slide to unlock” feature on Samsung devices greatly resembles the one present on an iPhone, even if such design could be deemed as intuitive and standard for touch screens.
The “quick link” feature lets users insert addresses and links as they are typing, something that the first versions of the iPhone implemented and helped to earn the liking of its lifelong customers.
At first, Apple won the case, but a panel consisting of three judges forced the ruling to retract as apparently the patent was not infringed at all. But the same three judges failed to convince their colleagues, which led the court to decide in Apple’s favor.
“We conclude that the jury verdict on each issue is supported by substantial evidence in the record. We thus reinstate the district court’s award of costs which the panel had vacated,” the court ruled.
Not the first time Samsung pays for damages
Another lawsuit occurred back in 2012 concerning design patents when Samsung was forced to pay $1.05 billion to Apple. Samsung even appealed the result of the ruling, as the company had to pay a 100 percent of its profits for the total sales of 11 of its smartphone models.
“Although Samsung now tries to portray itself as an innovator, Samsung acknowledged at the time that the iPhone’s design was miles ahead of its own,” stated Apple’s lawyers, referring to the damages that caused Samsung copying the iPhone’s design.
Both cases are unrelated, but the Patent Act foresees that the design of the product is a key component in its sales expectancy. Samsung’s legal team tried to argue that the act was ratified in 1886 and that it does not take into account the minimal and intricate design features that smartphones present nowadays.
As more smartphones are released, customers find hard to keep track of which features are first manufactured by companies. It is through millionaire settlements that tech giants fight in the courts, getting to the point of claiming the totality of profits yielded by a certain product.
Source: The Wall Street Journal