Apple is likely getting a big holiday gift from Samsung, in the form of over half a billion dollars. This is the first time that Samsung finally agreed to pay Apple some of the money it owes in a patent infringement case that began nearly five years ago.
You might remember that not long after the original Samsung Galaxy phone launched, Apple sued Samsung claiming its version of Android and TouchWiz skin infringed on some technology and design patents found in iOS. Now here’s the kicker: almost five years later, that case still isn’t properly settled.
After a big original victory for Apple, when Samsung was ordered to pay over a billion dollars in damages, the case has gone through numerous appeals and negotiations. Not only that, but at least one of the big patents involved, the so-called pinch-to-zoom patent, has since been invalidated by the USPTO. And now other patents might also be invalidated soon, giving Samsung a much stronger leg to stand on.
However, Apple is currently appealing these decisions, and Samsung has agreed to pay the American company over 500 million dollars, the money it owes according to the last court decision. But Samsung doesn’t expect to lose that money forever. In fact, it wrote that it reserves the right to seek full reimbursement if any of the previous court decisions get overturned or retried, which seems likely if the USPTO further invalidates the patents involved.
To sum up, five years after its original filing, Apple might finally get some money. But the case still seems far from over, and Samsung is in a better position now to contest Apple’s complaints.