Apple, Samsung Settle Years-Long Dispute Over Smartphone Design

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – After seven years, the saga is over: Apple and Samsung have agreed to end their battle over whether Samsung copied the iPhone’s design.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who has presided over the majority of the prolonged court battle between the two tech giants, said Wednesday the tech giants had informed her they reached a settlement. The terms were not disclosed.

“Plaintiff Apple Inc. and defendant Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. would like to inform the court that they have agreed to drop and settle their remaining claims and counterclaims in this matter,” the parties wrote in a notice of settlement submitted to the court.

The patent battle, which focuses on design similarities between the Samsung Galaxy smartphone and Apple’s iPhone, began in 2011 with Apple’s lawsuit. The case was closely watched in Silicon Valley and beyond, particularly as court documents, depositions and witness testimonies peeled back the curtain on two notoriously secretive technology companies.

After the first trial, with Koh presiding, a jury found Apple deserved more than $1 billion in damages for Samsung’s infringement.

A series of appeals, including a brief hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court on the matter of damages as it applies to patent law, ensued. The two companies fought a hard legal battle, once again before Koh, with Samsung saying the damages owed to Apple should only relate to the specific design elements of the phone covered by Apple patents.

These included the black front face, the rounded corners and the grid-like icon display on the iPhone’s home page. Samsung believed it owed Apple around $370 million for infringing the three patents.

Apple said the design patents covered the entire phone and that Samsung should fork over $1.1 billion, all the profits Samsung generated from several infringing phones during a two-year period beginning in 2010.

Ultimately, the jury struck a compromise, awarding Apple about $539 million – still a significant victory for the Cupertino-based company.

Several observers predicted the verdict would spur another series of tortuous appeals, but Tuesday’s settlement announcement will put a kibosh on those predictions.

When asked for comment, an Apple spokeswoman pointed to the company’s statement following the latest jury’s verdict. The statement touted Apple’s innovation and design and the jury’s hard work, and noted Samsung “blatantly copied our design.”

Samsung declined further comment.

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