The legal dispute was major news in 2011 when Apple first accused Samsung of copying its designs to gain customers, escalating the competitive rancor between the two companies into open war. The initial case was closely watched as a clash of titans, and also as a yardstick to determine the standard for which companies can sue each other for similar looking designs. In addition to a 2011 U.S. patent case, Apple and Samsung also filed retailiatory suits against each other in other countries, including Germany and Japan.
Apple initially received a $1 billion award from jurors in a 2011 case, after finding that Samsung had infringed on Apple’s patented designs of features, such as the layout of the home screen. That, in turn, spurred appeals and countersuits. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which reduced Samsung’s payment and threw the case back to a lower court.
Since Apple and Samsung started their legal battle, the smartphone world has changed dramatically, minimizing some of the conflict between the companies. While the top two smartphone makers in the world are still highly competitive, the dynamics between them have shifted somewhat. Apple remains focused on premium phones and is the largest company in the world. But Samsung, once considered a “fast follower” company that quickly adopted other’s smartphone trends, has focused more on upscale, original design and is credited with leading the smartphone industry trend toward larger phones.
When asked for comment, Apple referred reporters to a statement it released last month. “We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers. This case has always been about more than money,” the statement said. “Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple. We’re grateful to the jury for their service and pleased they agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products.”
Samsung declined to comment.