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Apple, Samsung Finally Settle 7-Year Patent Battle

It's finally over. After more than fifty lawsuits in ten countries, four trials, seven years, jury verdicts that stretched into the billions, and one Supreme Court decision, Apple and Samsung have settled their patent dispute. The undisclosed settlement comes just weeks after Apple won a $539 award after a jury found that Samsung infringed on its design patents.

While it is unclear how much Samsung will ultimately pay out for its patent infringement -- or how much each company racked up in legal fees -- it appears that the pitched battle Steve Jobs once referred to as "thermonuclear war" has now come to an end.

A Pyrrhic Victory?

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs said, according to Walter Isaacson's biography. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and both sides were able to de-escalate the conflict to avoid total destruction and fallout. While Jobs may not have been happy with the settlement, and the lawyers and legal tech writes might be sad to see it go, we're pretty sure the companies themselves are happy to finally rid themselves of the litigation.

According to Reuters, Samsung declined to comment on the settlement. Apple did as well, at least as to the terms of the settlement, but a spokesperson did say the company "cares deeply about design" and "this case has always been about more than money."

Done and Dusted

The infringement claims stemmed from Apple's original iPhone patent filings, and covered everything from the shape of the device to icons and even the "slide to unlock" feature. Samsung had already paid Apple $399 million to compensate for patent infringement, and the recent verdict left it with $140 million still due. It's likely the settlement involves a number between that and zero, but settlement terms, although filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, remain unavailable.

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