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I can’t believe Samsung still wants to pretend it didn’t copy the iPhone

Published Jun 12th, 2018 12:44PM EDT
Samsung Copied Apple's iPhone
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

Samsung made its mobile fortune on the back of the iPhone. The company literally wrote the book on copying the iPhone, yet Samsung is still trying to pretend it didn’t copy Apple’s hardware designs and software features.

Just a few weeks ago, Samsung was handed a final verdict in an old patent case started by Apple. The jury ruled that Samsung has to pay $538.6 million in damages, which is actually a pretty big victory for Samsung. That’s because six years ago a different jury awarded more than $1 billion to Apple.

Samsung, of course, still isn’t happy and wants another retrial. It’s also hoping for a verdict of no more than $28 million.

“The jury’s verdict is excessive and against the weight of the evidence on each and every issue identified above, and … the evidence supports a verdict of no more than $28.085 million,” Samsung’s lawyers said in a post-trial motion, according to Law360 , via SamMobile.

Samsung believes that the patent which covers the layout of icons on the home screen has nothing to do with other parts of the smartphone. Therefore, the damages should be restricted to just $28 million.

What’s Samsung’s doing here is incredibly cheeky, but also kind of smart. If the court agrees with Samsung and the damages are reduced to less than $30 million, Samsung would win a massive victory. After years of legal troubles, such a win would legitimize Samsung’s claims that it doesn’t copy the iPhone.

Of course, that still wouldn’t do anything to change the fact that Samsung did everything in its power to copy Apple as much as possuble. We often talk about this mesmerizing piece of evidence, a 132-page document that shows an internal comparison between iPhone and Galaxy S1 in which Samsung highlights everything that’s good about the iPhone and what’s wrong about the Galaxy S. Here it is again:

We’ve got explicit remarks with side-by-side images, and suggestion after suggestion covering how to make the Galaxy S more like the iPhone. By the way, this was all coming from a company that had plenty of experience making cell phones long before Apple entered the market.

In other words, Samsung swiped everything from Apple. Even though it ultimately ended up creating products that are different from iPhone, its mobile fortune was built on copying the iPhone. For Samsung, copying the iPhone was the best decision the company made, and I’ll just quote myself from something I wrote back in October:

It’s only evident now what Samsung was able to pull off. Copying the iPhone was a massive gamble, but also a calculated one. Samsung quickly realized it could create iPhone-like devices that would sell just as well as the iPhone. By the time Apple brought charges against Samsung, the South Korean giant would have already established itself as a major Android device maker, and it could further hone its smartphone-making skills. It would soon learn how to make Galaxy phones that aren’t iPhone clones. And it’ll make boatloads of cash in the process which meant it’ll just pay the damages. As for the iPhones clones, those would be long gone from stores by the time Apple actually won any meaningful product bans.

That’s precisely what happened. Samsung just swallowed the criticism, fought back, and marched onward. And it all worked out.

Unfortunately for Apple, when it chose what patents to use in its case against Samsung it had to select only a few claims. In other words, not everything Samsung copied from Apple was covered in these court duels because of the way these legal proceedings work. Had it been possible for Apple to wield every patent claim it had at its disposal, the final damages would have been entirely different. And this patent fight would have never ended.

That’s why Samsung can now claim in post-trial motions that the icon layout did not have anything to do with the rest of the phone. In a separate motion, Samsung also asked the court to have Apple reimburse the $145 million it paid in damages over a touchscreen patent that has been invalidated.

That said, it’s time for this case to die and for Samsung to pay its dues to Apple. As everyone who follows the industry knows, $538.6 million in damages is barely a fraction of what Samsung truly owes to Apple.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.