Will Apple & Samsung finally stop their legal battles?

by: William Neilson JrMay 5, 2014

Apple vs Samsung DigitalTrends

On Friday, Apple won a $119 million jury verdict against Samsung for infringing on three of its patents. A U.S. District Court jury in San Jose, Calif., found that some Samsung devices had infringed on Apple’s patent for “quick links,” a feature that dials a phone number included in an email, and Apple’s “slide to unlock” patent, for gaining access to a device. The jury will reconvene on Monday to determine whether additional damages are necessary for Samsung’s infringement of Apple’s “auto-complete” patent, which offers suggestions about how to change or complete a word during typing.

The two companies’ previous legal face-off in this high-stakes legal battle over software features used in smartphones and devices resulted in Apple being awarded nearly $1 billion in damages two years ago. That case is under appeal and this one likely will, too.

Will the decision affect either company?

Most of the infringing products are no longer sold by Samsung therefore it is unlikely to have a significant impact on current sales of Samsung products. The verdict won’t hurt Samsung financially either as the award of $119 million in damages amounts to roughly one-quarter of 1% of Samsung’s $47.56 billion in cash.

Although Apple could try and seek an injunction to force Samsung to stop selling their infringing products, they most likely will not due to their lack of success with injunctions in the past. Federal courts have declined nearly all of Apple’s attempts to bar Samsung products, maintaining a high threshold for proving that any single patented technology influences consumer-purchasing decisions.

A ban, even if granted, will not significantly impact Samsung as it does not sell most of the devices found guilty of infringing on Apple’s patents in the US market.

Will the feud end now?

As John Fletcher, senior analyst at SNL Kagan, told USAToday, “The grudge match will continue.”

One reason for the continued anger is due to Samsung’s belief that although Google wasn’t a party to the case, Apple was trying to punish Google’s Android system through Samsung. More than 70 percent of smartphones run on Android, a mobile operating system that Google has given out for free to Samsung and other phone makers.

But, the longer that these companies argue, the more it could possibly hurt their products. According to Strategy Analytics, Apple and Samsung controlled the market two years ago, making up 55 percent of smartphone sales. Samsung’s newest smartphones, the Galaxy S4 and S5, weren’t on trial in the case. Samsung is counting on the Galaxy S5, which went on sale March 27 in South Korea, as its marquee device to maintain its global lead competing with Apple for high-end shoppers.

According to data released by research firm IDC, Samsung has already shipped 85 million smartphone units in the first quarter, more than the combined total of Samsung’s next four competitors, including Apple.

There’s no sign the legal fight will end anytime soon, with both sides expected to appeal to the highest courts in the US over the next few years. Those appeals could go all the way up to the US Supreme Court. Apple gets two-thirds of its sales from the iPhone and the iPad while Samsung has become the world’s largest maker of smartphones which make it Apple’s chief competitor.

Some experts agree though that while this was not a resounding victory for Apple, the legal battle will not stop Apple from continuing to fight against Samsung:

Susan Kohn Ross, a lawyer with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp in Los Angeles told Bloomberg: “They’re each looking for that knockout punch and they don’t seem to be able to find it. They sort of feel they are on an even keel and need to keep punching.

This case is not going to significantly change the position of either company in relation to their competition. Even with Apple winning some battles, Samsung and Android have already cemented their territory in the mobile market and even court rulings can’t topple their position at this point. The mobile battle isn’t fought in the courtroom but rather in the consumer market.

  • MasterMuffin

    They’ll never stop :)

    • No, they never will stop…..especially with Jobs last few years showing his utter anger with Android

      • Guest123

        Curious to see what apple will go after in the wearables tech arena.

      • MasterMuffin

        Jobs has been pretty quiet last few years ;D

        • vikings football

          Well sometimes you literally kill yourself trying to kill your enemy…sad but true that greed kills or be killed

          • MasterMuffin

            Or maybe it was, I dunno, the cancer that killed him ;D

    • Tom-Helge Andersen

      Ehm, it’s Apple that wont stop. Samsung is just defending itself.

      • mobilemann

        i love sammy for their hardware, but they are a much more fucked up company than apple. (they’ve been convicted of bribery and corruption) You’re joking.

  • Ron L

    Software Patents….. Reform is so needed.

    • Guest123

      And, it would seem, the US court system for such cases. Other countries have deemed many of these patents not valid, and or not worthy of a lawsuit, yet the US has become a ‘payday via the courts’ type of country.

      I appreciated Judge Posner’s ruling, deeming that neither side proved that the patents were worth money or that any customer would buy one device over the other due to said patents, thus dismissing the case. . . of course, appeals looks to be over turning that — payday mentality.

      • mobilemann

        only germany has invalidated slide to unlock but i’m interested in hearing more, apple’s won in japan, (http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/japan-court-rules-apple-didnt-infringe-on-samsung-patents-again) south korea had a similar verdict as this recent one http://www.bbc.com/news/business-19364875 . Not trying to start some war with you, it’s just i don’t see what you’re talking about really. This doesn’t seem to be an american thing at all. Looking forward to citations and civil discourse, i hope!

        • sjdhavva

          UK court has invalidated this when apple sued HTC for slide to unlock

          author I think samsung has 60 billion in cash

          • mobilemann

            Thanks! could you link me? All i could find googling the subject was samsung’s 3 patents that were struck down in the UK.

          • sjd
          • mobilemann


          • Mike

            Not directly related but the 2012 UK tablet case found Samsung did NOT copy iPads. This tablet ruling applies to the whole of the EU. Apple’s prior claims were found to have damaged Samsung’s reputation and they were ordered to print an apology on their website. They did so but referenced other (non-tablet) issues and were summoned back to court and ordered to revise the statement immediately. When they protested that it would take time, the judge famously asked if he needed to compel Tim Cook to attend to explain why.


        • Rijoenpial

          The outrageous amounts demanded sure are a greedy American thing… suing as a sport IS an american thing, so yeah, compare the amounts granted to Apple elsewhere and in the US and you’ll get the picture… Cheers

          • mobilemann

            actually the patent system was setup to protect inventors and has just been abused, as any capitalistic company (especially public ones like google MS and apple) are basically bound by their public ownership to try and maximize profits. This includes IP lawsuits. This is capitalism, and it’s not just an american thing.

            i think samsung would have tried for as much in the reverse. I’m constantly surprised by some of the ridiculous comments i get in the form of replies.

            But then again, i’m a realist, and not a fanboy.

        • chaki-

          Shhhhhh, or i will sue you…..US style :D

          • mobilemann

            lol touche!

      • Michael Samsara

        There is great method to Apple’s madness, which is why they are unlikely to stop. There is also a powerful reason they like to bring lawsuits in the United States.

        The US graduates somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 lawyers a year; lawyers for whom frankly there’s no actual gainful employment nor practical need. Add this new crop of wannabe Perry Masons, F. Lee Baileys and Clarence Darrows to the previous decades’ of over supply of same and what you get is – exactly the litigious, mired in litigation idiocy you see taking place here, there and everywhere in America.

        There is little real for so many lawyers in America to do that creates any value – so, as with any powerful, intelligent force that has no productive outlet, it turns parasitic and destructive. Most of the members of Congress – including our President – are lawyers. Do you really think that they are going to pass laws that will make life less profitable and/or harder for lawyers? Don’t hold your breath.

        As far as Apple goes, they know that if they sue in California – no matter how silly or unfounded their claims they are probably going to win. California is the “go to place” for anti-corporate litigation; having the highest propensity of both judges and nut case left wing anti-business radicals to populate juries. Apple knows that they have a really good chance to get a verdict in their favor. Where else are you going to find a judge who is willing to keep intact a verdict and ignore the fact that the the foreman of the jury that gave Samsung that previous billion dollar had a grudge against Samsung? There are a lot of reasons people in America think of California as La La Land – has great weather though.

        That’s the bad news. The good news is that Apple has already lost the war. They just don’t know it yet. Any person, or corporation, that harbors in its heart the type of obvious hatred of another person or anything for too long will, not may will, but find itself being eaten away form the inside by its own malignant, metastasizing motivations and intentions. They have also already lost the war in the marketplace as we all know.

        Edgar Cayce once said, “You cannot hate your neighbor without developing liver problems.” We are spiritual beings inhabiting – temporarily – physical, human forms and “thoughts truly are things”. If you hold a thought long enough in your mind it will find a way to come into being. Yes, that is a tad touchy feeley for a tech site I know! But, it does hold practical, as well as business relevance for Apple – as no corporation – even a self-acknowledged and constantly reminding us – self-proclaimed “leader in its industry” can keep its collective corporate mind focused on hatred and being “thermonuclear” and be truly creative at the same time – the two states are utterly, completely, absolutely incompatible.

      • Ruz

        US has supported Apple because apple is the main source of revenue for the US government while Samsung is not the home grown company.. So think its all fixed and corrupted

        • Apple_Nexus

          Nothing to do with Samsung’s culture of ripping off the work of others (Apple, Sharp, Pioneer, Dyson…)?

          • Ruz

            fact doesnt change dude

  • Groud Frank

    “The mobile battle isn’t fought in the courtroom but rather in the consumer market.” Programmers will understand better than most why software patents are bogus. It’s akin to patenting a mathematical formula and is the height of intellectual dishonesty. When a developer wants to accomplish something they will likely take the easiest path. If you want to get to 10 you can either choose : 5 + 5 or 100 – (50/2) – 65 + 1000 – (500*2)

  • phantomsofthedesert

    No apple wont, They need the money since their phones aren’t selling. And when Sammy’s the number one. tis is were they make their money

  • Bone

    This should end patent trolling. To claim something, not invented by Apple to be used on a technology, not invented by Apple should not be combined into a patent. It’s like someone invented beer, another one invented beer can, and a 3rd person shows up and patents “a can of beer” and booth the beer and can company is fined? :D

  • Bryan Z

    Google is picking up that tab anyway. – SHM –

  • The-Sailor-Man

    “Will Apple & Samsung finally stop their legal battles?”

    Wrong question!

    (I would write “Wrong question. iboy!” if you didn’t call yourselves AndroidAuthority)

    The right title here must be:

    “Will Apple finally stop their legal battles?”

    Shall I explain , WHY?

  • Brandon Power
  • Ruz

    I think Patent laws should be re written.. All stupid things where there is no invention or unique stuffs are not to be included in patent list.. Secondly patent must come with a expiry date after which the company cant patent the product or design after particular period say 5yrs or 10yrs.. Dialing a number from email id is not something new as we already used to do this since our Nokia days in our sms and other places.. Yes but if Apple comes out with their own 100,000mah battery for mobile then they can patent the same and expect royalties.. Patenting such baby stuffs really turns me off

  • Elliot Derhay

    Didn’t Steve Jobs say he would spend every cent Apple has to destroy Android? I doubt the current CEO is that obsessive. But the court battles will definitely continue as long as these big companies have lawsuits at their disposal.

  • dan690

    All of this is a bunch of crap. I doubt either company will ever pay a penny to the other one. Lawyers win.