back to article Samsung loses (again) to Apple in patent battle (again). This time to the tune of a mere $539m

A US court has yet again ruled that Samsung copied Apple's smartphone design patents, and this time the Korean electronics giant is on the hook for $539m. A jury in a northern California US district court needed five days to decide that Samsung's phone division really did rip off Apple's patented designs. It's the latest twist …

  1. Brian Miller Silver badge

    Apple rips off Xerox, sues world+dog

    Apple is such the design innovator. Or maybe not. Too bad Xerox waited too long to file a lawsuit against Apple. Maybe Samsung should claim preexisting designs and demonstrate it with all of the Xerox UI features.

    1. David Kelly 2

      Re: Apple rips off Xerox, sues world+dog

      Apple absolutely did not “rip off” Xerox. Apple paid Xerox what was asked, before public release. Apple paid Xerox for the right to recruit Xerox employees (IIRC $1,000.000). If anything Xerox thought they were taking Apple’s good money for nothing of value for a division and technology they were discarding.

      Furthermore Xerox’s systems implemented window graphics in text with font generators. The kind of junk we saw a lot in MS-DOS before Windows. What Apple did was orders of magnitude greater.

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Apple rips off Xerox, sues world+dog

      Apple rips off Xerox, Braun, Anglepoise, Lear Siegler, The Regency TR-1,... so maybe it's Apple rips off world+dog, then sues world+dog.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Apple rips off Xerox, sues world+dog

        You forgot Swiss Railways.

        Also iPad was Fujitsu brand & iPhone a Cisco brand.

        The designer at Braun that did all the plain white stuff (Dieter Rams) regarded it as sincere flattery and obviously copying).

        There are others two. Apple spends a tiny fraction on R&D. How much R&D budget is on Patents & Clerical & Lawyers rather than actual real Engineers (D) and Scientists (R)?

        The original iPhone used bought in FingerWorks and Samsung SoC with ARM core. Capacitive touch wasn't new, other phones used resistive because of GUI design and aimed at business, thus data entry & annotation.

        The iPod succeeded because of iTunes. The deal with record labels was the innovation.

        The iPhone succeeded because of Carrier deals with data included. Till then the data on Smartphones was per second time (1998-2003 approx) or per megabyte transfer (Edge data and 3G data).

        I see lots of industrial design (the case/style and generally based on Braun late 1950s early 1960s minimalism) and struggle to see actual HW & SW innovation. I was designing such stuff from 1986 to 2008, so well versed in the Art. I also collect vintage electronics, earliest stuff I have is from 2008. I saw Xerox GUI in 1970s. It was real bitmapped graphics. Seriously programming since 1979 and started learning after school in 1969.


        Apple are brilliant at marketing. They tend to use mature HW & SW, exceptions being things like early adoption of ports (USB, Firewire, Display Port, USB-C etc) or ignoring/dropping them (analogue jack, standard watch strap) to ensure the faithful buy Apple accessories.

        Also walled gardens (hard to use USB data transfer, have to use iTunes).


        Also using solder instead of connectors & glue instead of screws so as to save cost yet they have retail margins twice to x10 of other competing products.

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Apple rips off Xerox, sues world+dog

          'iTunes'? Maybe the 'iTunes Store' which debuted in 2003, alongside the iPod 3, the first USB compatible iPod. Until then iPods were niche.

          Although the revolution in .mp3 players in general was thanks to the Rio, and Diamond fighting the RIAA over the right to rip music folks already owned on CD.

    3. Ian Joyner

      Re: Apple rips off Xerox, sues world+dog

      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.

  2. Youngone

    Can't hurry love, obviously

    So the Supreme Court ruled that $400 million was too much, and this stupid jury came back with $539?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't hurry love, obviously

      Sorry to be a bit pedantic, the USSC does not rule on amounts of damages, they rule on points of law.

      They said that the jury in this trial did not have to use a specific point of law when it came to deciding on damages. It appears that they (the jury) disregarded this because the ruling in the USSC said 'could' and not 'must'.

      Don't worry though, Samsung will appeal this all back to the USSC so they won't have to pay a dime to (cr)Apple for years.

      IANAL etc.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Can't hurry love, obviously

        "Don't worry though, Samsung will appeal this all back to the USSC so they won't have to pay a dime to (cr)Apple for years."

        I wonder what the legal bill (for either/both sides) is so far?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't hurry love, obviously

          That would be hard to calculate, since many of the lawyers involved are probably employees. If they weren't doing this case they'd probably be doing something else.

          Regardless I don't think anyone would be surprised if it were in the 8 digit range for each, this is probably more about pride for Samsung (we didn't copy you) and carrying out Steve Jobs' last wish (well not really, but kinda) to go thermonuclear for Apple. You almost wonder if the iPhone and Galaxy will still exist as products by the time this case is finished...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't hurry love, obviously

      That's the risk Samsung took with the way they appealed this - it was thrown back to a new jury and they are free to see things differently. It looks like they awarded exactly half what Apple was asking for with the design patents, I guess that was their middle ground between "the design is the entire article" and "design patents are worthless". Samsung was taking a roll of the dice they'd get a jury who saw design patents as worthless. For a trial in Silicon Valley that would end up with a lot of engineers in the jury, that's probably not a bad gamble, but they lost.

      Basically Samsung's argument was that the design means very little alongside the technology, while Apple says design is critical (in the trial they gave an example of another automaker ripping off the iconic VW bug silhouette and getting away only paying damages based on the cost of the bodywork if Samsung's argument was accepted)

      I suppose if Samsung can come up with another reason to appeal the basis of the trial they can get this jury ruling thrown out and give a third jury a crack at it...if at first you don't succeed...

    3. jmarked

      Re: Can't hurry love, obviously

      The inflation rate of something must have been considered. JK

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple finally recouped some of the money

    For the overpriced OLED displays on the iPhone X. Haha!

    Mobile duopoly rivalry intensifies. Expect both companies to throw shade at each other at their keynote presentations, and in negative attack ads.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

      Duopoly on OSs maybe but hardware is a mixed bag. Displays are Samsung, Sony, Sharp and LG. SoCs are Apple Samsung, Qualcomm, Intel, MediaTek and Huaweii. Camera sensors are largely Sony.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

        It's the ecosystem which matters. And Apple and Samsung are the current top dogs in their own respective ecosystems.

        It doesn't matter where the parts or peripherals came from. Sony's camera sensors are found in almost all phones, and yet Xperia phones are only coveted by the most hardcore Sony fanboys. But Sony has other businesses that are doing well e.g. Playstation, so it's not that bothered about losing money in mobile.

        1. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

          ...yet Xperia phones are only coveted by the most hardcore Sony fanboys...

          I'm FAR from boing a Sony fanboi, and I had to grit my teeth before I bought a Sony phone.

          It was a good phone, and worked well until the ("non replaceable") battery died. I managed to open it and replace the battery once (I never trusted it to be waterproof after that) but when the second battery died I decided the OS was too out of date for it to be worth trying to source a second replacement (I bought it with KitKat, and upgraded to Lollipop, but Marshmallow as out by then and my Xperia model was not on the list to receive it).

          I bought a newer Moto because it (officially) had a replaceable battery (the current ones don't, which disappoints me). If Sony want me to buy another phone they can fit replaceable batteries and start guaranteeing timely OS updates for five years.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

            I bought a newer Moto because it (officially) had a replaceable battery (the current ones don't, which disappoints me)

            Are you sure about that? We recently bought a Moto for the boy. Without looking the details up now, I think the distinction in the last couple of generations was that the "normal" model has a replaceable battery, but the "plus" model has a slightly larger capacity, but officially non-replaceable battery.

            It's an interesting question. I personally have an original Moto G (Falcon) which has a non-replaceable battery. The battery - even after five years of moderate use - still holds a good amount of charge. I can easily get five or six days out of it, and if I'm careful eight or nine (my record early on was 11 days with over 10% remaining, IIRC). How? Well, I am a bit fanatical about turning un-needed functions off (e.g. only turning on WiFi or data or GPS when I actually need to use them) and I don't automatically charge the thing every night. I make sure it gets down below 20% before considering charging and I know that if I keep WiFi and GPS and data off, I can get a full day of texts and the occasional call out of the thing on perhaps 15% charge (depends how good the local coverage is).

            But I'm not daft, and the car has a charger available at all times, and there's one of those battery packs in my rucksack. Both are useful (thanks to the almost ubiquitous USB charging spec) for many other devices, not just the phone.

            Some time ago I unlocked it and installed Cyanogenmod, it's now running LineageOS (7.1.1) which brings it more-or-less up to date and runs surprisingly well on the old hardware. I have no Google Apps, and use the FDroid store. The phone was delivered with Jellybean (4.3?) and had one minor OS update, but the promised upgrade to Marshmallow (5) never materialised.

            The one thing I haven't mentioned is price. It may be a symptom of the throw-away society, but at an initial cost of (IIRC) £150, even if the battery had become unusable after only two or three years, I wouldn't have felt nearly so bad at not being able to replace it as if the phone had cost £600 or £800 or (god forbid) £1,000. I would expect a £1,000 phone to last six or eight years at the very least, but you know for a fact that there won't be many iPhone X still in good working order in 2027!

            The boy's recent Moto G5S (erm... I think) was also well under £200. I'm not sure what extra he would have got for spending three or four times as much on a "flagship" phone, other than a paranoia that if it somehow gets run over by the school bus, he wouldn't be able to afford to replace it.


          2. jmarked

            Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

            The irreplaceable battery is definitely one of the downsides of most phones today.

        2. jmarked

          Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

          Sony will surely have a hard time dealing with these two mobile giants.

      2. wayward4now

        Re: Apple finally recouped some of the money

        Let's not forget the dime-a-dozen employees that have to sweat building these overpriced gadgets for little to nothing. All Apple has really accomplished to is the increasing suicide rate that boosts their profit margins,

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah right and it really was a Harry Kane goal, where's his $500M ?

  5. DJV Silver badge

    나도 그래 Nah, not really...

  6. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    But USPTO?

    Are the patents (or Design Patents = Registered Design) really valid?

    Is there some xenophobia (Apple perceived as American, Samsung the exploitive Foreigner)?

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: But USPTO?

      Why would they not be valid? Samsung has equally valid design patents for their phones as well, so none of the other Android phone manufacturers can copy them.

  7. jeffroimms

    design is design..

    If we are all using essentially the same design methodology, machines and programmes to design the CAD versions of our models, schools of thought, Design Academies, aesthetic values, available hardware and aiming to please the same people - USERS... arnt we eventually going to end up with a number of exceptionally similar devices??

    Considering the "unibody" was initially designed and implemented by HTC (2013), surely they're all copies. Wireless charging was implemented by Samsung, continued with Google Nexus 7 (2013)(built by ASUS (I still have two of these in use and working today - Also they have 5Ghz WiFi and fully functional NFC))

    Apple overcharge significantly for their devices (in part to support the infrastructure of shops and support services provided within, oh, and court room action) and are exceptionally slow at truly innovating. The "Apple Way" isn't the only way and taking into consideration the first paragraph, they should truly innovate and get on with it...

    I personally have been using HTC devices since around 2002 - Currently I'm using an LG G5 (incl B&O DAC (I also have the CAM Plus) - I am though due to change contract soon and will look once again at the newest HTC. I will however never consider an Apple device as a serious contender for my own pocket, as I have had to repair many of their devices in the course of my normal work and have yet to be impressed by their design, engineering or ability to repair.

    Tech should and can fit each user, it is after-all useless without the end user, wasting time, efforts and money under the guise of protecting innovation is such a turn off and after having spent 35 years playing with varying tech going back to the BBC B, Acorn Electron, Spectrum and Amiga eras it seems that Apple use their size and energies in the wrong areas..

    A truely innovative, well engineered device should also be able to be serviced, repaired and be expected to work well beyond the next two versions - As an engineer i have repaired Apples own devices after clients have been turned away from Apple Stores stating that they need to replace said device (4 years old), so much for the expensive initial price to suppliment support, to me, this smacks of exploitation, a personal opinion!

    A petty afterthought??? I wonder how many Apple devices were being used by the Jury...

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: design is design..

      That’s all fine what you are saying there, but fact is that Samsung sold phones that looked exactly like the iPhone 3GS, and they sold a lot more _because_ they looked like the iPhone.

    2. Blank Reg

      Re: design is design..

      I discovered the secret to Apple design a few years back after getting back in to CAD after having been away from it for a few years. When you don't know the controls and features available in a CAD package everything comes out looking like it was designed by Apple.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LG Prada

    Samsung should just say, actually we copied this....

  9. doublelayer Silver badge

    I don't care

    They are fighting about phones that are nothing like the phones they have now, which, incidentally, are once again very similar--similar design choices, similar features, similar ridiculous price, there isn't much difference really. I don't know where this will end, but I am quite sure that I don't care where it ends. I can be glad that I am not on that jury, because that has to be boring.

    1. jmarked

      Re: I don't care

      It is always been money and pride. They've been fooling people with these devices that easily got "obsolete" after a couple of years.

  10. Sil

    In reality, it looses 140 millions, since it already accepted to fork over 399 million dollars in 2016.

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