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Samsung Settles Apple iPhone Suit ... Sort Of

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on December 07, 2015 3:00 PM

Last week, Samsung announced that it agreed to pay Apple almost $550 million by mid-month to partially settle an iPhone patent infringement lawsuit. The settlement was filed in a California federal court after years of legal jousting between the companies. But the war is not over.

Samsung has expressed disappointment over the damages Apple claimed and reserved the right to seek reimbursement, Top Tech News reports. Apple sued Samsung in 2011 and at one point there were reportedly more than 50 intellectual property cases between the two companies pending in courts internationally. Now, there are two cases left, but experts predict a long road ahead before final settlement in this case.

What the Fuss Is About

Apple argued that Samsung, on its phones, copied the iPhone's slide-to-unlock technology and other patented features. This year, in September, a court ruled that Apple could sue for an injunction that would bar Samsung from using those features on its phones. That ruling led to last week's settlement reportedly.

But sources who scrutinized case filings say that there is much more sparring to come. Samsung is not going to stop now, even if it will cough up more than a half billion dollars in coming weeks.

Mark Nowotarski, a registered U.S. patent agent specializing in design patents, said, "It looks like Samsung is only paying because they have to pay. The fact that they are reserving the right to ask for money back in case an appeal goes in their favor indicates the case is not settled."

Settled, Sort Of

Indeed, Samsung sounds reluctant to concede, despite having agreed to a partial settlement. "We are disappointed that the court has agreed to proceed with Apple's grossly exaggerated damages claims regardless of whether the patents are valid," a Samsung spokesperson said. "While we've agreed to pay Apple ... we will continue to take all appropriate measures within the legal system to protect our products and our intellectual property."

Apple would not comment on the case but its filings reportedly dispute Samsung's right to reserve reimbursement. Usually when a case settles, it can't be appealed except under limited circumstances. But because the companies only agreed to a partial settlement here, Samsung is holding out hope that the half billion dollars it must pay by December 14 won't ultimately stay in Apple's coffers after further judicial review.

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