U.S. 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 comment.
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.
Friday’s ruling was issued by a unanimous three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit, the country’s top court specializing in patent issues.
The ruling reverses a May 2014 verdict from a federal court in San Jose, California ordering Samsung to pay $119.6 million for using Apple’s patented technology without permission.
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 ar
e here to stay. The marketing and psychological benefits for Samsung are huge.
芝加哥专利律师布拉德利·哈尔伯特，一直在关注此案，他说，此项裁决是 “一个清晰的信号, 苹果并非不可战胜,仍然有其他替代操作系统存在。对于三星来说，这项裁决的市场效应和心理效果是不可估量的。
Rutgers Law School professor Michael Carrier said Apple rolled the dice by going to court and today’s decision shows that the patent wars really are not worth it.