Final verdict: Samsung on the hook to pay Apple millions
An Apple patent lawsuit against Samsung that began in 2011 may have finally reached its end.
Today, the US Court of Appeals upheld the lawsuit’s original 2014 verdict, awarding Apple $120 million (about £96.5 million, AU$158 million) in damages.
The dispute all started over Apple’s patents for swipe to unlock, autocorrect and quick links feature. Quick links allowed phone numbers and addresses to automatically be turned into links. Ironically, Apple’s latest iOS 10 update got rid of slide to unlock.
Today’s decision reinstates a victory that was overturned earlier this year by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In an 8-3 verdict, the court said that the three-judge panel, the same panel that opposed today’s verdict, was wrong to throw out the case in February of this year.
"The jury verdict on each issue is supported by substantial evidence in the record," said Judge Kimberly Moore in the court document.
This decision is an important one, as it sets a precedent for Apple’s smartphone patents. Some competitors might have to re-engineer their unlock methods, autocorrect systems and quick links, or risk a costly lawsuit with Apple.
As we’ve come to expect with these two, the Apple vs Samsung battle isn’t over yet. This latest court decision comes less than a week before the US Supreme Court considers Apple’s case against Samsung for copying the design of its iPhone.
In August, over 100 renowned designers from around the world, including Calvin Klein, Dieter Rams and Alexander Wang, filed an amicus brief in support of Apple.
The designers claimed that a product’s visual design has "powerful effects on the human mind and decision making processes." The brief cites a 1949 study that showed 99% of Americans could identify a Coca-Cola bottle by its shape alone.
Samsung argues that Apple’s generic smartphone design shouldn’t have been allowed to be patented in the first place. Tech giants including Dell, Facebook, Google and HP argued in favor of Samsung in their own amicus brief.
This will be a seminal case, according to The New York Times, as the US Supreme Court hasn’t heard a design patent case in over a century. Stay tuned for more on that verdict.
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