Apple and Samsung settle their seven-year patent dispute

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Although the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, it comes just weeks after a US court ordered Samsung Electronics to pay $539m (£403m) in damages for copying features of Apple’s original iPhone.

This is the latest development in a feud that began in 2011, with Apple seeking more than $2 bn in damages from Samsung for infringing on a number of patents. Apple was awarded $1.05bn in damages a year later, but the rivals have disputed this amount ever since, as well as beginning fresh proceedings against each other in courts around the world.

In 2016, Samsung successfully appealed part of that huge award at the US Supreme Court – arguing that a patent violator should not have to pay the entire profit made from stolen designs if those designs only covered certain portions of a product, and not the entire object – in this case, the grid-like display of icons on a smartphone screen.

Apart from winning on this point, the trial ended in defeat for Samsung in May this year, as the jury sided with Apple’s argument that Samsung’s profits were attributable to the design elements that violated Apple’s patents. As a result, the damages of $539m were awarded.


The settlement marks the end of this prolonged legal battle, with the end result being favourable to both sides: Apple obtained the large award of damages, while Samsung managed to avoid an injunction that would have blocked them from selling its phones in the U.S – from which it generated revenues in excess of $25 billion in 2017 alone.