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The Apple-Samsung patent lawsuit might finally end today

Published May 18th, 2018 5:56PM EDT
Apple Samsung patent lawsuit
Image: thanat sasipatanapa

Apple and Samsung have been tied up in litigation for long enough to merit a mention in some of the later books in the Bible, but an end might finally be near. Today, the two companies are moving into closing arguments in a court case that’s settling the last detail in the case: How much money Samsung has to pay Apple.

An earlier trial already settled that yes, Samsung infringed on Apple’s fundamental right to the rounded corner and grid of icons, among other things. The billion-dollar question now is how much Samsung should pay in damages. Apple’s argument is that most of the profit from any device that had any infringing component should be payable, which works out to around $1 billion. Samsung, shockingly, thinks the number should be much smaller.

The damages are being re-litigated due to a Supreme Court decision last year, which recommended that the Appeals court re-examine the damages that had been awarded to Apple due to Samsung’s infringement of its design patents. Samsung has been pushing for a retrial to re-examine the damages for years, and Sunday’s ruling is a major victory for the company. FOSS patents explains what Samsung’s been through to get here:

Samsung had originally asked Judge Koh for a retrial (in vain at the time), then the Federal Circuit (in vain), then requested an en banc (in vain), then petitioned for a writ of certiorari (successfully), then convinced the Supreme Court that the standard to design patent damages that had originally been applied was incorrect, then dissuaded the Federal Circuit from affirming the original ruling after the SCOTUS opinion, and, just last summer, persuaded Judge Koh that it had not waived its “article of manufacture” argument.

The key question that’s being argued here is what profits Samsung will have to pay to Apple: all the money made from selling smartphones containing design elements that infringe on Apple’s patent, or just a percentage of those profits, as the design is only one minor element of a smartphone’s design.

This mini-trial has been running all week, and CNET has a great breakdown of what expert witnesses from both sides have been saying.