Samsung to pay Apple $548m over patent row

Apple and Samsung smartphones Image copyright AFP
Image caption The patent row between Apple and Samsung began in 2011

Samsung has agreed to pay Apple $548m (£362m) as part of a deal to settle a long-running patent dispute.

The arrangement was revealed in papers filed to a California court by both companies on Thursday.

The dispute began in 2011 when Apple said Samsung was using some of its patented technologies without permission.

The payment does not mean the end of the row as, next year, a US court will decide if Apple deserves more damages.

Patent exam

A joint case management statement filed to the California court revealed that Samsung had agreed to pay Apple within 10 days of receiving an invoice.

The payment is part of a bigger $1bn damages award that Apple was granted in 2012 by a jury that considered the case. That total was reduced on appeal to $930m. Further legal action split this total into two parts - a $548m chunk for technology patents and a $382m chunk for allegations that Samsung copied Apple's packaging materials.

A jury is due to decide on the second damages award in 2016.

Despite agreeing to pay the first part of the settlement, Samsung said it reserved the right to get its money back if there were further developments in the case. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is currently reviewing some of the patents Apple used in the court case.

In a statement, Samsung said: "While we've agreed to pay Apple, we remain confident that our products do not infringe on Apple's design patents, and we will continue to take all appropriate measures within the legal system to protect our products and our intellectual property."

Apple has disputed Samsung's right to a refund if the patents are ruled invalid.

One of the patents in the case, covering ways to add the "pinch to zoom" feature to smartphones, has already been ruled invalid by the USPTO. Apple is appealing against this decision.

Soon after the USPTO made the decision to invalidate the pinch patent, Samsung lodged a call to review the entire case with the US appeals court. This call was rejected.

"After years of not getting a cent, more than half a billion dollars is significant," wrote patent expert Florian Mueller in a blogpost.

However, he added, the continuing uncertainty about the validity of some Apple patents and Samsung's plans to file fresh appeals meant the case was a long way from reaching resolution.

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