Ever wondered why some of Samsung’s high-end phones have features similar to those of iPhone? One of the biggest challenges tech companies currently face is protecting intellectual property rights, their most valued asset that determines the design and quality of products. So, for any business, it makes perfect sense to fight to the finish to safeguard patents that give it an edge over competitors.
This week, Samsung lost its controversial patent battle against Apple (AAPL) and is liable to pay the latter nearly $540 million in damages. Announcing the verdict, a US jury upheld an allegation raised by Apple seven years ago that the Korean smartphone maker mimicked some of the patented features of iPhone. Being one of the fiercely contested patent cases the technology sector has ever witnessed, the trial was constantly under the scanner of Wall Street.
It all began after Samsung launched its Galaxy series nearly eight years ago, when Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs raised concerns that some of the features of the new phone were copied from iPhone. Then, Jobs had declared a ‘thermonuclear war’ against Android for carrying ‘stolen’ technology. By issuing the verdict in favor of Apple after deliberating for nearly a week, the California court has brought to end the protracted trial that witnessed several appeals and verdicts.
The court upheld an allegation raised by Apple that Samsung mimicked some of the patented features of iPhone
In the initial trial held in 2012, a year after Apple filed a lawsuit alleging that Samsung used features copied from Apple products on its phones and tablets, the court found Samsung liable. To be specific, Apple claimed Samsung infringed upon three design patents and two utility patents related to iPhone.
Though the Korean company defended the charges, it was lack of consensus on the amount of compensation that necessitated the retrial. Samsung has already paid $399 million to Apple in damages, which reduces the current liability to around $140 million.
Expressing satisfaction over the court order, Apple said it is the value of technology that mattered to it, more than the compensation money. However, earlier this year Apple had claimed $1 billion in damages for Samsung selling smartphones with features allegedly copied from iPhone.
While it is speculated that Samsung would appeal to the higher court, the latest verdict does not give clarity on the ratio at which the profit earned from products with infringed features will be shared between the companies.
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