Patent Pinching: Samsung To Pay Apple $120m ..(But Who's The Real Winner?)

Written by Oonagh Reidy     05/05/2014 | 11:03 | Category: HOME OFFICE

Tech giant forced to pay $119.6 million to Apple, a US court has ruled.

Patent Pinching: Samsung To Pay Apple $120m ..(But WhoAfter a bitter patents dispute that has lasted several years, Samsung has been found by a US court to have infringed at least two of Apple's registered patents and fined almost US$120 m, on Friday. 

However, the sum awarded - $119.6m - was just a fraction of the $2.2bn Apple had demanded. 

In the end, Samsung was found to have breached two of five patents. All of the accused Samsung phones were found to have infringed the '647 "quick-links" patent, while just some devices were found to have breached the registered '721 "slide-to-unlock" patent, including the much-loved Nexus and Stratosphere. 

Apple may be awarded damages for infringement of a third patent 'auto-complete' this week, if the judge finds the breach was willful, but its unlikely to be a significant sum, believes Foss Patents guru, Florian Mueller. 

Meanwhile, Samsung, who countered the claims by lodging counter patent pinching claims of its own against Cupertino, too, was awarded a small payout of $158,400, after Apple was found to have breach one of its registered patents. 

However, it too was just a fraction of the $6m the Korean company was seeking. 

Apple said "today's ruling reinforces what courts around the world have already found: That Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products.

"We are fighting to defend the hard work that goes into beloved products like the iPhone, which our employees devote their lives to designing and delivering for our customers," the company told Re/code. 

Despite the slap on the wrists, the real winner in the long running patents battle appears to be Samsung, now the world's biggest smartphone maker, having out smarted its US rivals in the mobile stakes. 

Samsung shipped 85 million smartphones in Q1 2014, while Apple shipped just half of that at 43 million, according to IDC figures. 

According to Foss Patents guru, Mueller, "this outcome is a very good one for Samsung, but it was clear even before the verdict that Samsung would be able to work around (to the extent it hasn't happened yet in more recent products) any of Apple's patents-in-suit. 

"So far, the only feature that Google and its Android device makers have not been able to work around without losing the benefit of the invention is rubberbanding."