A US appeals court has reversed a key section of Apple’s 2012 court win over Samsung regarding iPhone patent infringements.
While upholding the ruling that Samsung breached a series of patents, including pinch–to–zoom tech and tap–to–zoom, the court found that Samsung hadn’t in fact breached ‘trade dress’ rules.
This means that the court does not believe Samsung wilfully copied the packaging and presentation of the iPhone with its early Galaxy devices.
The court based its verdict on the contention that it is not possible to protect the utilitarian aspects of the iPhone’s general looks.
The ruling means that Samsung won’t have to pay $382 million of the $930 million it was initially ordered to pay to Apple. That latter figure was lowered from $1 billion in the weeks after the initial trial.
However, Samsung does still owe $548 million to Apple for patent breaches. The lower award should mean the two companies finally reach an out–of–court settlement in the United States, according to legal experts.
“With the passage of time, this litigation seems less and less relevant, so the decision could push the parties toward settlement, tilting in Apple’s direction,” claimed law professor Michael Carrier, in an interview with Bloomberg.
For its part, Apple said money was not the issue.
“Even though Samsung must pay for its widespread infringement of our patents, this case has always been about more than money,” said Joshua Rosenstock on behalf of the Cupertino company.
“It’s about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love, which is hard to put a price on.”
A decision on the exact final amount owed by Samsung is set to be reached by a lower court later this summer.