appeals court on Friday overturned a $120 million jury verdict against
Samsung, finally handing the South Korean smartphone maker a significant
win in its longstanding patent feud with top rival Apple.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.,
said Samsung Electronics Co Ltd did not infringe Apple’s "quick links"
patent, and that two other patents covering the iPhone’s slide-to-unlock
and auto-correct features were invalid. The court also said Apple was
liable for infringing one of Samsung’s patents.
In a statement, a Samsung spokeswoman said: "Today’s decision is a win
for consumer choice and puts competition back where it belongs in the
marketplace, not in the courtroom.” A spokeswoman for Apple declined to
Apple and Samsung have been battling over mobile device technology
patents for years. Apple has mostly prevailed, and in December, Samsung
paid Apple $548.2 million stemming from a separate patent case, which
Samsung has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Infringement of the quick links feature, which allows the device to
recognise data on the touchscreen, such as a phone number, and link to
it to make a call, accounted for nearly $99 million of the damages.
While the appeals court said that Samsung did not use the same
technology to detect and link to specific data, it also said Apple’s
other patents were obvious compared to previously known inventions and
should never have been granted.
Chicago-based patent lawyer Bradley Hulbert, who has followed the
litigation, said the decision is "a clear signal that Apple is not
invincible and that alternative operating systems are here to stay. The
marketing and psychological benefits for Samsung are huge."