Apple 1, Samsung 0: the smartphone war rages on

Samsung has been ordered to pay its rival $290m over copyright infringements. Yawn.

by Emma Haslett

Apple has won the latest battle in its long and tedious battle with Samsung over copyright infringement. The South Korean company has been ordered to pay its rival $290m (£180m) because of designs the cult technology manufacturer says it ‘copied’.

It’s so dull now, MT can barely muster the enthusiasm to tell the story: the two technology manufacturers have been at each others’ throats for years over various perceived slights, despite the fact that Samsung actually manufactures some of the components that go into Apple’s iPhones. This particular fight was over 26 Samsung devices which Apple reckons included various copyright infringements. The ruling said only half of them included copied features.

In a way, Samsung has got off lightly: it had originally been ordered to pay Apple $1.05bn, but a US district judge ordered a retrial because she said the jury had ‘miscalculated’ the fine. Nevertheless, Samsung still has to pay $550m from the original trial – bringing Apple’s awards to $930m. Although MT dreads to think how much both sides spent on lawyers.

Samsung complained during the trial that Apple had tried to copyright ‘the basic rectangle’ shape of the smartphone, and that it ‘doesn’t own beautiful and sexy’. But after the ruling, Apple took the high moral ground.

‘This case has always been about more than patents and money. It has been about innovation and the hard work that goes into inventing products that people love,’ it said. ‘

While it’s impossible to put a price tag on those values, we are grateful to the jury for showing Samsung that copying has a cost.’

So it’s really just about the principle of the thing. That, and taking your sworn enemies for everything they’ve got…

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