Skip to main content

Apple can celebrate now that the Supreme Court has rejected Samsung’s appeal

Samsung vs Apple
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Remember when Apple and Samsung were at each other’s throats in United States courtroom? It may have finally ended its latest round. On Sunday, October 22, a federal judge ruled that the tech titans’ case could be reheard, and set a late October date for the first hearing. On Monday, November 6, however, the Supreme Court refused to hear Samsung’s appeal, and upheld a lower court ruling reinstating a $120 million ruling in Apple’s favor.

In Samsung’s appeal to the Supreme Court, the South Korean company noted that the patent court’s judges failed to follow procedure, as they neither considered additional legal paperwork or heard oral arguments before making their decision. Samsung also claims that the judges “wrongly changed the law related to invalidating patents and awarding injunctions.” Samsung wrote to the Supreme Court that it had “long served as the bulwark when the Federal Circuit tips the balance too far in favor of patent-holders’ rights at the expense of innovation and competition.”

Unfortunately, this flattery did not work in the company’s favor.

The dispute stems from a nasty legal brawl that started in 2010. At issue are intellectual design and software patents that the Cupertino, California-based smartphone maker accuses Samsung of copying.

Apple, which considered Samsung a “trusted partner” at the time, didn’t sue the Seoul, South Korea-based company right away — Samsung supplied (and continues to supply) billions of dollars of screens and other components to Apple’s overseas iPhone plants. But when executives from the two companies failed to agree on licensing, Apple went on the offensive, accusing Samsung of “slavishly” imitating the iPhone’s design. It filed patent lawsuits in dozens of countries including Germany, Japan, and the U.S., and Samsung countersued, accusing the iPhone maker of infringing on its 3G cellular patents.

Over the next six years, the companies battled it out in courts around the world. In Australia, a judge forced Samsung to delay the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. In the United Kingdom, Apple was forced to issue a public apology for “falsely accusing” Samsung of patent infringement.

It all came to a head in 2012, when a U.S. jury sided with Apple and awarded the company $1 billion in damages. Samsung appealed, and a judge found in its favor, ruling that the initial damages were calculated incorrectly.

After a retrial, an accrual of additional damages, and out-of-court settlement talks, Samsung eventually agreed to pay Apple $548 million for infringing three patents — on the condition that it would “[continue] to reserve all rights to obtain reimbursement from Apple.” In other words, Samsung would fork over a minimum of $149 million, but would appeal the rest of the damages to the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court took up the case in 2016, in the end ruling that damages for design patent infringement could be calculated differently than they had been historically. Damages needn’t account for the entire product, the justices unanimously found; instead, they could be based only on the part of the device that infringed the patents.

Update: The Supreme Court will not take up Samsung’s latest appeal over a patent lawsuit with Apple. 

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Samsung Expert RAW vs. Apple ProRAW
Taking photos of false hellebore flowers using the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Expert RAW app.

As a photographer who owns plenty of high-end camera gear, from pro-grade cameras to drones, a surprising number of my photos are captured using my phone. Most people these days snap pictures using the cameras integrated into their phones, and the quality of these cameras has increased by leaps and bounds. Now, the latest and greatest smartphones include the kind of features that not only appeal to amateur photographers, but to professionals as well.

Among these features are Apple ProRAW and Samsung's Expert RAW, which allow you to capture and edit photos with a significantly higher degree of control over the process. Unlike a DSLR or mirrorless camera, these camera apps shoot using multi-frame RAW, in which multiple images are captured and combined together to give you an image more akin to what you would capture in a single RAW photo with a dedicated camera.

Read more
Samsung and Apple dominated the smartphone market in 2021
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs. iPhone XS Max

Despite the supply chain issues last year, the smartphone market managed to grow year-over-year, according to a pair of reports from Counterpoint Research and Omdia. The overall winners of the market were the usual duo of Apple and Samsung, the reports noted, with Samsung coming out ahead in 2021 overall while Apple dominated in the last three months of the year.

Who won and who came in second depends on a matter of perspective. Looking at the market as a whole annually, both Samsung and Apple came out on top with 271 million units and 238 million units sold, respectively. Toward the end of the year, the iPhone dominated with 87 million products sold. While Samsung's 67 million to 69 million units for that same period isn't shabby, the iPhone 13's price difference over something like, say -- the Galaxy A52 -- means that Apple would have benefited more even if the pair had sold close to the same numbers.

Read more
Forget waiting! Here’s all the CES 2022 tech you can buy right now
HP Omen 45L with the front panel removed.

CES is chock-full of new product announcements every year, but unfortunately, most of them are just that: Announcements. Tech companies come out, loudly proclaim that their latest gadget will transform your life, and then quietly mutter that it won't actually be available until some yet-t0-be-determined point in the next year. As such, most of what we see at CES in a given year ends up being annoyingly unattainable.

But thankfully, not everyone at CES shows up with a booth full of flashy promises. A rare few of them come to the show with products that are ready to ship right away, immediately after they're revealed. So as a tip of our hat to those thoughtful few who go the extra mile to provide us the instant gratification we crave, we've rounded up all the best CES gear that you can buy right now. Everything on this list will ship before the end of January, if not sooner. Enjoy!
TCL's gargantuan, 95-inch 4K QLED TV

Read more