Today, a unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit ruled that Samsung, in fact, had not infringed on patented Apple technology in at least three contested points. This overturned a previous $120 million jury verdict in Apple’s favor. Although this ongoing legal battle has been proceeding for years, this marks one of the first major victories for the Korean smartphone maker.
The judges said that in spite of what the previous jury had decided, Samsung did not in fact infringe on Apple’s “quick links” patent as had been accused. Moreover, the court ruled that two of Apple’s patents – slide-to-unlock and auto-correct – were invalid, implying that these fundamental interface features should have never been patented to begin with. Adding insult to injury, the court also noted that Apple was actually potentially guilty of infringing on an unspecified patent of Samsung’s.
This ruling overturns a verdict from May 2014 in which a federal court in California ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million for infringing on patented Apple tech. The biggest issue of the three centered on the “quick links” capability, which is a device’s ability to recognize on-screen information such as a phone number or email address, and converting these into links to the appropriate app like placing a phone call to the number or creating a new, addressed email draft. This alleged infringement constituted $99 million of the damages leveled in this case.
Apple is still miles ahead of Samsung in this continuing legal battle. Just this past December, Samsung wound up paying Apple $548.2 million regarding a separate patent case, which Samsung is escalating to the Supreme Court. By comparison, this may look like a small victory. Both companies have declined to comment on the ruling.
What are your thoughts regarding this Samsung win? A turning of the tides or a mere consolation prize? Let us know how culpable you think Samsung really is in this case in the comments below!