It’s nearly 2018 and Apple and Samsung are still going at it in patent lawsuits. The battle that has been raging for nearly a decade, however, might be at a close now that the Supreme Court has finally put its foot down. Unfortunately for Samsung, that means it will indeed have to fork over the $119.6 million a jury awarded to Apple years ago. But while the sum is peanuts for Samsung, and only a fraction of what Apple wanted, the loss is nonetheless legal leverage Apple can exploit in the future.
The patent war between Apple and Samsung has ranged for years and has encompassed gestures and features we take for granted today, like slide to unlock and turning addresses and numbers into tappable links. In 2014, a San Jose, California jury awarded Apple nearly $120 million in damages, having found Samsung guilty of infringement. Apple, however, was seeking $2.2 billion.
Naturally, Samsung preferred not to pay a single cent. And thus began a legal roller coaster, where a Federal Court overturned the verdict, only to have it reinstated by even more judges in 2016. With no other recourse, Samsung turned to the Supreme Court for its last appeal.
Unfortunately for Samsung, the Supreme Court doesn’t want to get dragged into the ongoing drama. It has refused to hear Samsung’s appeal to have the full amount stricken off. That practically means that Samsung will have to pay that sum anyway.
Samsung has had mixed results with its patent squabbles with Apple, winning some and losing others. It is lucky enough to have narrowly escaped paying the full amount that Apple has been seeking, which is quite on par with these kinds of legal proceedings. The dance between the two giants, however, did cause the industry as a whole to take stock of the US patent system and demand for reforms.