back to article Rounded corners on Android phones cost Samsung $548m: It will pay up to Apple after all

Samsung says it will pay Apple the $548m it was told to cough up for infringing the iPhone's round corners among other patented designs. The South Korean electronics giant said in a submission [PDF] to the US District Court in San Jose, California, that it has asked Apple to invoice it $548,176,477, which Sammy will pay within …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    But... iPhones are the squarest of them all, aren't they?

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Err.....

    Ok Apple here is a serious amount of dosh but bonk bank it because we think we will get a judge somewhere to order you to pay us this back and more besides.

    Sometimes a company/person should just pay up and put it all behind them and move onto other battles.

    On the other hand, Apple is carrying on to the USSC

    Get the popcorn this has a long way to run yet.

    1. g e

      Re: Err.....

      They already made that back, didn't they? I seem to remember when the 1BN judgement was initially awarded that Sammy's chip prices went up by about 1BN... So they're probably still ahead.

      Anyway weren't LG found to have prior art?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Err.....

        Of course chip prices went up, Apple has needed to buy more every year since they sell more iPhones.

        If you think they just added $1 billion to an already contractually agreed upon rate to recover the cost of the suit, you don't understand much about contract law. If they raised prices much Apple would simply go to another foundry such as TSMC or GF - certainly they couldn't get away with anything like a $1 billion price increase in a new contract without sending Apple packing and getting nothing from them and having tons of unused capacity in their fabs.

  3. Breen Whitman

    As a company Apple needs to die. They are, as it turns out, the worst of the worst.

    It is somewhat fortuitous that Jobs is dead. While he was visionary, much like Hitler, or Pol Pot, much of it was in all the wrong ways.

    Although Job wasn't no1 in vileness. I'd rank the list at No3: Hitler, No2: Jobs, No1: Pol Pot.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      That is probably not going to end things. If Apple closes it's doors, all those juicy patents will either get sucked up or passed on to a "child" company. In either case, can you say "patent troll"? Yeah, it would be bad.

      Rounded corners as opposed to square ones, or beveled ones. I'm disgusted by the fact they could even patent such a thing.

    2. DesktopGuy

      Wow - never knew Steve jobs was responsible for millions of deaths!!

      As for Samsung, they have a long history of bribes, price fixing, intellectual property theft followed by counter suing and dragging companies through the courts as long as possible.

      Still, I wouldn't put them in the same category of the names you mentioned.

      Theres a great article detailing Samsung's misdeeds.

      See - http://www.vanityfair.com/news/business/2014/06/apple-samsung-smartphone-patent-war

      As for the Apple/Samsung case, the patent they were caught on was all Apple could get them on.

      Did anyone ever see the case design, packaging, accessories, icons, layout - it was defiantly copying.

      I like the look of the new Samsung devices, its just they did rip off Apple to get a leg up in the mobile market and it worked.

      Considering how much money they have made, they will do the same thing again.

      Just ask Dyson!

    3. fruitoftheloon
      WTF?

      @Breen Twatman

      Breen,

      Are you old enough to sign a contract for a phone?

      Get a bit of perspective matey, this is a piffling spat ABOUT F'ING PHONE DESIGN....

      Regards,

      Jay

    4. David Lawton

      Even if you hate Apple, they are responsible for a lot of what we use today, and without them around the market would be very dull. Before the iMac PC's were just ugly boxes (most still are!)

      These new Ultrabooks that all the manufactures are pumping out now that are Macbook Air clones use an Intel processor that was designed for Apple by request. That CPU class did not exist, intel made it just for the Air originally.

      Smartphones pre iPhone, yeah you know what they were like. My Nokia N95 was much better spec wise compared to the first few gen iPhones, but Apple ran circles around it end user experience and interface wise, and now everyone uses that concept. Even down to 'Slide to unlock' the screen, its simple and nothing to it hey? So why didn't anybody else?

      Who were the first to dump serial and parallel ports and go USB only, then everyone else does it?

      Who dumped the Floppy and got laughed at, then everyone else drops the floppy ?

      Who dumped the DVD/CD drive and now everyone is doing it?

      We could even go further back and say we have Excel today partially thanks to the Mac as it came out on the Mac first as thats what Microsoft did in its early days, write software for the Mac with its GUI something Microsoft did not have yet.

      They got the recipe correct for the modern tablet, i could go on and on and on, but the point is Apple have had a massive impact on the technology landscape as we know it today, both directly or indirectly and even if you don't have an Apple product , lets say you have an Acer S7 ultrabook and a Samsung Galaxy S6, and a Nexus 7 tablet, do you think they would even be around as you know it without Apple?

      and as much as i love Apple products i don't want to see Samsung or other manufactures out of the game, as they keep Apple on its toes and make it keep pushing things to the next step once they have all copied them.

      There is a very healthy market at the moment and we as end users have a lot of choice.

      1. Michael Strorm

        Apple got too much credit for forcing their users to buy external floppies...

        "Who dumped the Floppy and got laughed at, then everyone else drops the floppy ?"

        As I've already said...

        "Is this the same iMac that everyone who owned one rushed out and bought a transparent-plastic-clad external floppy drive for? I do believe that it is!

        Remember that the first iMac only included a CD *reader*. CD writers were still a couple of years from being cheap enough to be a realistic "base" option at this point, and dirt-cheap pen drives were even further off. The only built-in way of sharing information was via a dial-up Internet connection. The fact that the iMac was a major success doesn't change the fact that leaving out the floppy without a practical alternative in place was jumping the gun."

        It's certainly true that the capacity of the 1.44 MB floppy disk was *already* getting badly out of sync with user needs at a time when typical hard drives were already several gigabytes in size and increasing rapidly, and even the CD-ROMs that were by then commonplace could hold several hundred megabytes.

        The only reason it hadn't been replaced is that there was no universally-accepted alternative at a near-enough "base" price (even the now-notorious but once-popular Zip drives didn't quite get there). Regardless, the motivation for a true replacement to the floppy was clearly there, with or without the iMac.

        Apple may deserve some credit for pushing USB along- its time *had* arguably arrived by that point, and it was already in many PCs, it just wasn't that well-supported.

        But credit for *not* doing something- i.e. missing out the floppy- and providing no real alternative (not even a writable CD)? I don't think so.

        1. Just Enough

          Re: Apple got too much credit for forcing their users to buy external floppies...

          "(even the now-notorious but once-popular Zip drives didn't quite get there)"

          Notorious how? I thought they were quite nifty. They just didn't have time to get a proper market footing before RW CDs came along and supplanted them. Not sure how this makes them "notorious".

          Did they kill someone too?

          1. Michael Strorm

            Re: Apple got too much credit for forcing their users to buy external floppies...

            @ Just Enough; Click of Death.

            Maybe this has been overstated- I don't know, as I didn't use Zip discs myself, but it's certainly commonly mentioned in conjunction with the format.

          2. donguevas

            Re: Apple got too much credit for forcing their users to buy external floppies...

            Zip drives were notorious for failing and losing data. Google the click of death.

      2. Nosher

        The iMac was essentially a copy of the 1984 Ontel C/WP Cortex - same all-in-one/built-in-to-the-monitor design and available in different colours; the iPhone was a lot like a Visitor data device as seen in 1985 TV sci-fi series "V", in the episode "Reflections in Terror" - same rounded corners and everything.

        1. Kiwi

          @Nosher

          the iPhone was a lot like a Visitor data device as seen in 1985 TV sci-fi series "V", in the episode "Reflections in Terror" - same rounded corners and everything.

          Blake's 7 S2 episode "Duel", and I believe the screen of the same device is visible in a later episode (1-2 eps after Duel, if not during Duel) where it is sitting near the transporter controls. A device about the size of a larger smartphone, with a screen that appears to largely consist of a grip of icons on it. First viewing I even took it for a smartphone before I remembered I was watching a very old SciFi series, not some modern program.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      somebody tried to pick up the wrong charger this morning

      Disgruntled fanboi unwilling to pay for the latest iteration?

      At least continue the listing to #10 to see how Larry Ellison compares to Josef Stalin...

    7. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

      Breen Whitman: "Although Job wasn't no1 in vileness. I'd rank the list at No3: Hitler, No2: Jobs, No1: Pol Pot."

      You really have no clue about anything do you? You can't discern good from bad, have no understanding of history, or computing.

    8. dogged

      > Although Job wasn't no1 in vileness. I'd rank the list at No3: Hitler, No2: Jobs, No1: Pol Pot.

      Whoah, hold on. Based on the Biblical "by their deeds" thing, you have two absolute monsters and one guy who was just an arsehole. Calm down, son.

      Now, I'm not disputing that if Pol Pot had been the head of an electronics and computing firm instead of a bloody revolution, he too might have only been an arsesole but he wasn't so that pretty much kills the discussion.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rounded corners, FFS.

    What pathetic protectionism by American courts.

    1. Ole Juul

      workaround

      Samsung should probably have sold them as a kit. Square corners and include a piece of sandpaper.

      (and then patent that concept)

  5. batfastad
    Trollface

    Prior art?

    This is nothing compared to what Apple are going to have to pay to Dell for copying the Dell Axim x51!

    Surely there is prior art on hand-held screens with rounded corners?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiocy!

    Dear Samsung,

    What kind of idiot lawyers do you have?

    Just for kicks, ask them if they've ever heard of an "escrow" account where a third party holds the money while you and Apple keep fighting the case.

    Remember that Europe overturned their patent on rounded corners?!

    You have technically "paid" the money to Apple but they don't have use of it until the case is settled one way or another.

    Why in God's name would you want to let them actually have the use of that kind of cash while you are still in court?

    1. Grikath

      Re: Idiocy!

      Leverage. Taxes. Long-term strategy.

      Samsungs' lawyers aren't stupid. You don't get to play in that field if you are. Or not for long anyway. The stipulation regarding the payment is ...intriguing.. in that respect.

      I've a feeling Apple is not going to like this particular payment one bit in the future.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Idiocy!

      Escrow doesn't pay interest. If Sammy gets it's money back via appeal, the amount will include interest. Lawyers may be slimy but they aren't stupid.

  7. Dazed and Confused

    In the mean time

    Samsung will just add $650M to the cost of all the components Apple buys off them, like they did last time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In the mean time

      They've never done that. It's just something in the imagination of Internet comment writers.

  8. John Tserkezis

    My arse has rounded corners. If Apple wants payment on that, they're welcome to it any time - just pull my finger when you're ready.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloody patent trolls

    ...or bloody broken patent laws to begin with.

    Most frigging corners of devices are more or less rounded. My screens, my printer, the speakers, even my keyboard. I wonder if the outcome had been the same if Samsung was an American company.

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Re: Bloody patent trolls

      I presume the issue there was how rounded the corners were. If they were rounded just enough to prevent the phone from catching on the fabric of one's pocket, they would have been OK with Apple. Perhaps Sony would have sued them.

  10. adnim

    I

    have never seen a mobile phone without rounded corners.

    1. Mike Bell

      Re: I

      I've never seen a fizzy drinks bottle without rounded edges either, but that doesn't stop Coca Cola from patenting the shape of their iconic bottle design.

      Patent D286 does not actually seek to protect the use of rounded corners. It illustrates a particular device aspect ratio with rounded corners in a particular proportion. Realistically, the patent can only be used against cases of blatant copying, which... er... Samsung most certainly did.

  11. Esme

    Patent idea

    Howsabout patenting the idea (with details) of a well-functioning patent office, stating clealry the differences between this idea and the one embodied by the current US Patent Office and why the one in our patent is clearly superior as the other is, essentially, non-functional. Then see if the US Patent Office will pass the patent...

  12. menotu

    Lucky Apple wasn't around when cars were first manufactured... I can see them suing other manufacturers for have round wheels ... and the corrupt patent system in the US wiould approve it...

    I think there should be a investigation into those who approve these kind of idiot patents.. I'd bet there's money changing hands here.....

    1. John Savard Silver badge

      Not between Apple and any judges; that stuff is too risky in any industrialized democracy with a functioning legal system, and that includes the U.S.. Campaign contributions to members of Congress, on the other hand, are certainly possible, but I don't think that Apple has yet found it necessary to take an activist role in preventing anyone from fixing the broken patent system in the U.S., because there's no real sign of it getting fixed.

      Actually, that's not quite true; there are proposals to "fix" it, but those would just bring things back to the bad old days when legitimate patents got ignored, like Edwin Armstrong's patent on the superheterodyne. The real reform is to keep enforcing patents - but only valid ones. And that means hiring a lot more patent examiners, which costs money.

      In fact, given the past crises of the streets of New York being plugged with the bodily wastes of horses, and the country running out of telephone switchboard operators, maybe the problem will only get fixed when they can get Watson to check all the patents for validity. Which would have its own problems, given that IBM is a technology company itself.

  13. Zmodem

    it would be easier if samsung quit the USA and stopped selling all products in the USA, if someone is tarded enough to patent round corners in the first place

    the USA can`t make nothing, they just have microsoft, the rest of the economy is all internal

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just in time for Tim Cook's year-end Christmas bonus!

    God bless us, every one!

  15. Brian Miller

    Let's all patent prior art!

    Ooh, I'm gonna patent art deco! It has lots of round corners!

  16. toughluck

    Samsung has a long history of ripping off Apple designs

    Such as their F700, shown in 2006, released in February 2007. Samsung was ripping off Apple even before they showed the original iPhone!

    1. toughluck

      Re: Samsung has a long history of ripping off Apple designs

      I knew I shouldn't have made the comment during US daytime hours.

  17. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    The difference between Apple and Samsung

    Samsung is an electronics company. Apple is a systems company.

    Apple works out what we are going to do with computing. Samsung assembles circuits. It has not been trivial for Apple to work out how to use computers better. But many see this as trivial and something that can just be copied.

    Once developed it is easy just to copy what Apple has done, even though they spent a lot of time and money to develop it. That is why they guard what they have done.

    Steve Jobs was concerned with what we could do with computers. Bill Gates at Microsoft built an empire on how to program computers. Steve Jobs' what had much further reaching consequences than Gates' how. Jobs and Apple saw that computers were a means to an end, not the end in themselves. That is why Jobs was a non-technical guy, who often had to be insistent with technical naysayers about his vision.

    Perhaps getting Samsung on round corners is equivalent to getting Al Capone on tax evasion, when his crimes were so much worse.

    Like other companies, Samsung has seen the success of Apple and decided to steal a bit of that for themselves. We need to protect those who have ideas from the profiteers - that is only fair and right.

    1. PaulFrederick

      Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

      Nothing Apple has ever done has influenced how I use a computer.

      1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

        Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

        PaulFrederick: "Nothing Apple has ever done has influenced how I use a computer."

        Either you have never used a computer - or you are delusional.

      2. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

        Nothing Apple has ever done has influenced how I use a computer.

        Do you use Windows, or Gnome or KDE or... ? Then how you use a computer has been influenced by Apple, like it or not. Ever printed from Linux? Look up the history of CUPS, oh look, Apple.

        1. donguevas

          Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

          Before OS X was even a thing CUPS was around, it came out in 1999. Where was OS X? Yeah 2001. Apple had to use CUPS or roll their own. And Apple didn't them until 2007. So all that printing to Unix systems had nothing to do with Apple.

    2. toughluck

      Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

      And Apple paid how much exactly to Xerox PARC for copying their GUI and mouse?

      1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

        Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

        Anonymous coward (Toughluck) says "And Apple paid how much exactly to Xerox PARC for copying their GUI and mouse?"

        You do not know the history do you? Douglas Englebart invented the mouse around 1963, not Xerox PARC. Jef Raskin at Apple was doing similar stuff to PARC and knew those guys. Raskin did his Ph.D in the 1960s on the graphics package that became Apple's Quickdraw. He was working at Apple doing similar stuff to the Xerox guys. It was Raskin who suggested to Jobs that he take up PARC's invitation to go and see what they were doing.

        PARC invited industry players in Apple, Tektronix, and IBM to view their stuff, because they had been ordered by Xerox HQ on the East Coast to drop what they were doing - it wasn't Xerox's core business. Tektronix and IBM didn't get it. But Jobs did. And the Xerox PARC guys were amazed how Jobs got it, since Xerox, Tektronix, and IBM didn't. Some at PARC realised it was the end of the road there, so those like Alan Kay and Larry Tesler left PARC to further this technology at Apple. They went on Apple's payroll, so were rewarded for their efforts.

        Apple still took considerable risks to develop this technology. The other part of the story is how PARC machines cost nearly $100,000, but Apple managed to put it in a machine selling for $10,000 (the Lisa), and then $2,000 (the Mac).

        Apple also did not exactly copy the PARC interface. Pull down menus at the top of the screen were Apple's innovation.

        Now Bill Gates did illegally copy Apple's stuff - particularly Quickdraw that was Raskin's.

        So when people say "Well, Apple just copied off Xerox" - they really don't know what they are talking about.

        1. Zmodem

          Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

          and for 30 years apple did nothing, they would probably be bankrupt if it was for the ipod, the ipod is nothing special

          1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

            Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

            Modem: "and for 30 years apple did nothing"

            How do you figure that ridiculous comment?

        2. Nosher

          Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

          And Telefunken had already produced a ball mouse (unlike Englebart's x/y-only wheels) several months before that famous demo.

        3. Lotaresco Silver badge

          Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

          You do not know the history do you?

          Ouch! Sadly neither do you Ian. Jef Raskin didn't have a PhD, he had a Masters. The subject of his thesis was a music program, not a graphics package.

          QuickDraw was created by Bill Atkinson, not Raskin. Bill doesn't have a PhD either.

      2. Lotaresco Silver badge

        Re: The difference between Apple and Samsung

        And Apple paid how much exactly to Xerox PARC for copying their GUI and mouse?

        It's well documented, Apple paid Xerox one million dollars for three days of access to the Xerox Alto project. The deal was technology sharing. Apple provided Xerox with access to the work of Jef Raskin and Bill Atkinson. Atkinson in particular improved hugely on the Xerox Alto with his design of QuickDraw which implemented a GUI with fewer processor cycles than the Alto and Xerox benefitted from his work.

  18. Oengus

    Accountants view of the settlement

    Apple Accountants: Damn, There is $548 million in "Profit" that we have to declare on our taxes this year that we don't have time find a way to offset.

    Samsung Accountants: Yippee, An invoice for $548 million. That really helps with the expenses this year to offset any profit we may have had so we can reduce our taxes.

  19. PaulFrederick

    How can anyone patent radiused corners?

    River stones have rounded corners for crying out loud. How can anyone lay exclusive claim to such a basic design element? What idiotic court of law would back them up? The mind boggles!

    1. toughluck

      Re: How can anyone patent radiused corners?

      Next up, Apple is going to sue the governments of countries around the world that dare to have rivers flowing through them for infringing on their patent on rounded corners.

    2. Hollerith 1

      Re: How can anyone patent radiused corners?

      Try trademarking a symbol that is a checkmark with a rounded curve ad see how fast Nike are onto you with measurements. Try trademarking a curved M for your fast-food company and see how quickly McDonalds comes knocking about infringement. Or try having rear lights on your luxury sports car that show a line that curves down and see how fast Jaguar are phoning you up.

      Design is not a triviality in today's world.

      1. toughluck

        Re: How can anyone patent radiused corners?

        But these are trademarks, not patents. There is a clear difference -- a trademark is something that your brand or product is associated with and if others were using it, it would diminish its value and illicitly prop up the knockoff.

        If Apple patented touchscreens with the original iPhone (just to be clear: that would be another one patented long after other manufacturers released their own), would people still defend Apple's validity of the claim? Of course they would. It would still be just as silly as this one.

        Ok, rounded corners. So what? Others had them before, and iPhone's shape is in no way unique, iconic or instantly recognizable. If it was, it would have been a trademark, not a patent.

        If iPhones had an asymmetric shape where one corner would have a different radius, or maybe not round at all and others copied exactly that -- they might have a point (except prior art from others exists, but let's skip that for the sake of the argument) and it could have been not only patentable, but also trademarkable. And then Apple would actually have a valid claim.

  20. NIck Hunn

    Rounded corners - what's novel or inventive

    I remember a presentation from Sebastian Conrad - the lucky man who designed the well rounded Nigella range of kitchenware, where he recalled that when he was studying at the Central School of Art and Design in the late seventies, the Industrial Design course was known as the Department of Rounded Corners. Sounds suspiciously like prior art.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every time this come up, we have to tolerate the same fan droid fuckwitery, with genuine real-life idiots declaring Job[s] (sic) to be the 3rd most evil person ever to fucking moron not understanding what a design patent is. The level of denial has been mind boggling. The argument was that Samsung wholesale copied the iPhone with the original Galaxy device. Saying they didn't or that the LG Prada was prior art (listen to yourselves! It was available 6 weeks before the iPhone and for all intents and purposes a feature phone with a touch screen) it to deny the truth. Now, you may not see anything wrong with this, but we all know if somebody got rich with your ideas, you'd change your tunes. Still, confirmation bias is strong in the freetard/fandroid community.

    1. toughluck

      Doesn't matter. LG Prada and Samsung F700 may have been featurephones with a touch UI, but same was true for the original iPhone, which was just a featurephone for over a year since its introduction (App Store was added with version 2.0 in July 2008).

  22. JustNiz

    Judge is insane

    Rounded corners on things is hardly a new concept. I thought patents had to be innovative? And what about prior art?

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