It has been a question that has become part of the general history chronicling the rise of the smartphones and other similar mobile communication and computing device. On the one hand is Apple, a pioneer of the smartphone revolution with its one and only iPhone line; on the other is Samsung, the biggest name in South Korean-made electronics worldwide that got into the smartphone race by – according to Apple – copying iPhone designs for its Galaxy phones, leading to a legal patent infringement battle that raged for seven years. This week however, both sides seem amenable to letting the fight end.
CNN reports that court documents have been filed by Apple and Samsung this Wednesday, June 27, stating to the effect that the two smartphone manufacturers have decided on a settlement regarding the struggle that has locked them into a court battle that lasted the better part of a decade. It began in 2011 when Apple lambasted the Samsung Galaxy phone, which runs Android OS, as a blatant copy of their iPhone’s hardware design and software capabilities. Through succeeding court rulings in favor of one company and the appeals of the other, Samsung and Apple burned dollars for a favorable outcome.
There have been no disclosed details about the settlement between Apple and Samsung; only that it would put to what is hopefully a final rest the legal battle between them. Said argument has caused both companies to bleed money in litigation, even having it get as high up as the Supreme Court. In 2016 the Court reversed the most recent ruling in the case that compelled Samsung to pay a patent infringement financial penalty of $399 million, which was already so well reduced from its high point in the 2012 court ruling of well over a billion dollars in all.
The jury has determined that Samsung was culpable of some patent infringement from Apple’s mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad. Several of the features they ascertained to have been copied include touchscreen functions like screen scrolling and double-tapping to zoom in and out of images; even icon placements were questioned. Ultimately however, Samsung is seen to have moved away from exactly aping iPhone features and made any similarities more superficial with each successive version of the Galaxy phones.
Following the settlement, neither Samsung nor Apple was in any mood to talk about what transpired. A spokesperson for the latter only reiterated that the pursuance of their case all these years has never been about making money in damages out of “opportunism” by Samsung. Rather, they were simply interested in protecting the patented innovative features that many designers at apple worked so hard on.
Image courtesy of BBC