US court orders Samsung to pay Apple $120m damages in mixed patent dispute ruling

Out-Law News | 06 May 2014 | 3:00 pm | 1 min. read

South Korean mobile device manufacturer Samsung has been ordered to pay US rival Apple almost $120 million after a US court found that the company infringed two of Apple's patents.

A jury in California unanimously agreed that technology Samsung had deployed in some versions of its Galaxy, Admire and Stratosphere devices infringed patent rights belonging to Apple. The patents cover a "system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data" and technology that allows device users to 'unlock' their handset by performing a "predefined gesture" on a touch-sensitive screen, according to the US Patent and Trade Mark Office.

The jury, however, also ruled that Apple had infringed a Samsung patent when it deployed technology in versions of its iPhone and iPod devices. Samsung's patent covers "digital image and speech recording and reproducing apparatus". The company was awarded just over $158,000 in damages from Apple over the infringement.

The jury dismissed further patent infringement claims brought by both Apple and Samsung against each other. The judge presiding over the district court case had previously found Samsung liable for infringing another of Apple's patents.

According to an Apple Insider report, Apple had been seeking more than $2 billion in damages from Samsung over the infringement of its patent rights cited in the case. Samsung had been seeking under $7m in damages from Apple over the infringement of patent rights it claimed in the case.

In 2012 Apple was awarded $1bn in damages from Samsung by a US district court jury in California after finding Samsung liable for infringing a number of Apple's mobile patents, although the damages awarded was subsequently reduced to $930m.

The US president Barack Obama last year also overturned a decision by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban the sale of certain smartphones and tablet computer devices made by Apple in the US, citing concerns for competition in the US device market if the sales ban was enforced. That ITC had imposed the ban after finding Apple had infringed Samsung's patent rights.

Apple and Samsung are currently embroiled in other patent disputes elsewhere in the world, including in the UK. Earlier this year Samsung won a delay to a UK court appeal which will determine whether European patents it owns are valid and were infringed by Apple. The delay was granted after the Court of Appeal ruled that it would be wrong to rule on those issues until related legal proceedings before the European Patent Office had been resolved.