Apple wins $120 million from Samsung in slide-to-unlock patent lawsuit

Apple and Samsung together
Apple and Samsung together (Image credit: Android Central)

One of Apple's patent disputes with Samsung has finally come to a close, with the U.S. Supreme Court turning down Samsung's appeal in the $120 million slide-to-unlock patent infringement case. The initial ruling was delivered in 2014, and while Samsung was able to overturn the verdict back in 2016, a federal appeals court reinstated the original ruling a few months later.

Samsung now has to pay $120 million in damages to Apple for infringing on two patents: the slide-to-unlock gesture and the quick links patent, which turns addresses and phone numbers into interactive links. The final amount is a fraction of the $2 billion Apple's lawyers demanded during the trial, but Samsung isn't all that pleased with the outcome:

Our argument was supported by many who believed that the Court should hear the case to reinstate fair standards that promote innovation and prevent abuse of the patent system.

Although this particular battle is concluded, the lengthy patent war between the two companies is far from ending. The design patent dispute — wherein Apple claimed that Samsung copied the design of the iPhone — is set to go back to court in May 2018, with Samsung able to whittle the damages to $400 million from an initial $930 million. We'll have that to look forward to next year.

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Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • If this highlights one thing it's that dear lord it takes forever to do things in the judicial system.
  • No lawyers drag this stuff out to maximize income.
  • I think it's a combination of both. It is funny, though, that the Apple patent dispute over copying the design of the iPhone concerns the Galaxy S2 or S3 if I remember correctly. So it has only been going on for six or seven years worth of lawyer and court fees.
  • Samsung will probably tell them to take it out of the bill for their screens LMAO
  • It's crazy as they do business with each when the US was doing business with Japan right up to the bombing of Pearl harbor...if South Korea has to invade North Korea, I would assume production of electronics in Seoul would be affected, which would in turn hurt Apple since Samsung makes their screens...
  • Yeah, but the world doesn't need any more iPhones, now that there is a note8
  • Hahahaha... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... uh no.
  • Ah yes, the slide to unlock feature that Apple patented despite it existing on the Neonode N1 for 18 months already.
  • Yes Apple did infringe on that previous patent but it was Apple that litigated because they had more to win perusing Samsung in attempting to obstruct the natural course of software development happening everywhere than the other company which lacked the funds to maintain that lawsuit. Can you imagine how much this cost apple to litigate for this many years. The worst part of this sort of crap is that if you would find out how much money was thrown down the toilet by these companies in court and compare that two how much money it costs to get clean water or food to countries in disaster situations or any other aid it would make most sane people cry.
  • Apple's Litigomancers are strong indeed.
  • I dislike apple with a passion
  • And this is why I don't support Apple.
  • I own stock from way back. I only wish I had bought more.
  • HMRC should take ownership of this money and tell Apple it's a down payment towards the billions in taxes they owe.
  • Apple is fighting tooth and nail to keep from paying its American taxes as it hides so much money in Ireland. .005% anual tax. Which is far less than what an individual on McDonald's salary on part-time wages would be. Angering when an individual pays more.
  • I do believe even .005% of apples annual taxes is ALOT more than a McD's workers FULL TIME salary. Lets use a round billion number. .005% of one billion is 5 million. might want to check your math again Anthony.
  • My bad good sir. $50 in tax for every million it made selling iPhones and iPads to most of the world outside America amounts to more than 12 billion dollars in unpaid taxes... still not a good look.
  • If they were sold outside America, in their divisions outside America...they should only have to pay taxes in that country...NOTHING WRONG.
  • Everything wrong. They sent out a spreadsheet to Appleby asking which tax heaven they could shift their $256 billion fortune too and incur no tax.. They also asked whether a change of government was likely, what information would be visible to the public and how easy it would be to exit the jurisdiction. Apple's 2017 accounts showed they made $44.7bn outside the US and paid just $1.65bn in taxes to foreign governments, a rate of around 3.7%. That is less than a sixth of the average rate of corporation tax in the world. They are pure an simply a grubby, sleazy company and anyone with any sense should boycott them until they start paying their taxes correctly. Why should we allow them to pay zero tax when we are taxed on our wages and also everything we buy?
  • And I bet you get all that money back and then some as a refund check. Tax on purchased items is a whole new ballgame. Totally different.
  • What an earth are you on about? We don't get any of that money back.
  • Playing by the rules that are in place. Contact your Senator and Rep.
  • I'm not an American. I'm British and in our country companies have to pay tax. Apple were using a loop hole in the law known as double Irish so they'd pay hardly any tax and when this was closed down to prevent them doing this they shopped around for another dodgy tax dodge, that only the super rich can access. So they will carry on paying next to zero tax. I do have a big problem with this as I pay 20% income tax on my wages. It's utterly disgusting tbh and I honestly think anyone who would still support Apple knowing this is a fool.
  • Don't forget about the entire Samsung leadership troubles in Korea....few in jail etc....NO COMPANY IS INNOCENT.
  • 48 percent of Americans do not pay federal income tax. I bet part time worker at McDonald's doesn't either.
  • I paid more tax, not a higher percentage but more actual American dollars, in 2016 than General Electric did. You probably did, too. That's just how it is and nothing will ever change it unless we change the way our elections are held and financed.
  • Well, I guess we are the lucky ones. My comment still is correct.
    Like I said corps are playing with the rules they were given. We would do the same if we could. Well, I would , you are probably more of a caring and sharing kind of guy. You know, for the better good and helping the less fortunate.
  • Ok, So this is why Samsung came out with the commercial....maybe apple should come out with one...grown ups don't make fun of other people!
  • Have you forgotten Apple's im a mac im a pc campaign?
  • FYI. Apple were showing differences in their computers and windows based macs are for fun....pcs are for spreadsheets...NOT having a young guy with a notch haircut...two different things all together.,...btw..I am not pro apple by any stretch....and I am not pro android....I am pro technology...and not a fanboy of any one platform.
  • Never was a Mac user and probably never will as I prefer a Windows PC but those commercials were funny! Samsung is just hating cause they ll never have those type of hardcore fans lining up for its smartphones. They so want to be Apple just Xiaomi. Heck even Google now!
  • Me too....WinPC is the best OS for desktop/laptop by far.
  • And they still do business with Samsung
  • Not that part of Samsung. They do business with Samsung Displays and some semiconductor subsidiaries, but the Samsung Mobile is a completely different company all together.
  • Samsung Display and Samsung Mobile are mostly two different businesses. Same for the Semiconductor fab and Samsung General (which sells everything from washing machines to Armored Personnel Carriers). Divesting this way helps the bottom line and is a way to save in taxes somehow (I don;t understand the finance part)
  • But, in the end, it's still all part of the same corporation.
  • Apple - we used to try and innovate, now we just litigate!
  • Another reason to hate Apple.
    Apple thinks it's OK to copy from Android, but doesn't like it when Android manufacturers copy them and is happy to sue.
    I don't like that Apple wants it software and features to be exclusive to their device and not make it available to others the way Google does with Android
  • Everybody copies everybody. Makes every device better. My galaxy note has had things apple had, and vice versa...NO COMPANY IS INNOCENT.
  • Well remind you if you don't have a clue but Samsung is no angel and plays very dirty too! This article explains how Samsung infringes on other companies patents making hundreds of millions in profits uses the countersue strategy to drag on while gaining market share and profits. They either eventually settle if they know they can't win after making huge profits or drag it on for smaller companies that can't afford to continue forcing them to settle for a much smaller amount. And that's exactly what they did with the original iPhone and still continued to do from the iPhone 5s 6/6s /7 and most likely will from the X.
  • Apple didn't make that. Beyond that, it's common sense. Get Samsung for making icons look identical at least, not a common feature.
  • Typical Apple, which is why I don't like them as a company, maybe you should try to compete rather than sue away the competition. If Samsung is infringing on the design of the iPhone, then so is every other maker of a cell phone. When in fact there were many before Apple but fanboys will frolic and rejoice on this because of course it's Apple and they can do no wrong.
  • I will never support Apple. I can't believe how petty they are. If it was up to Apple, there would only be iPhones in this world. How boring would that be...
  • I wonder if the first lockmakers patented the “turn key to unlock” method, all OEMs seem to use that these days.
  • Software patents should not exist.
  • Doesn't every Android phone use this slide to unlock feature?
    Doesn't every phone turn phone numbers and addresses into hyperlinks?
  • They used to. Apple should have sued Google over it if they were going to sue. And yes, these are total bullshit patents. But Apple DID have them and Samsung did "copy" them. This judgment is fair, but a better result would be to toss out this kind of stupid software design patent in the first place. In the end, Samsung made billions and billions of dollars using these features for years and it only cost them $120 million. Sounds like a bargain.
  • Exactly Jerry! That's what Samsung was doing with other companies technology /patents prior to Apple's iPhone /iOS release, then copied a lot from the original iPhone /iOS and still continues to do! Below article mentions Samsung's strategy.
  • Easy there... Apple is doing the very same thing now with Qualcomm, Blackberry did it with NXP, and the list goes on. It's a way of doing business. The only instance I can think of where a company didn't fight and stretch our hearings forever was Apple v HTC. They stopped being silly and made an agreement. The results were HTC having the absolute best scrolling and animations of any phone, and Apple being able to embed antenna bands in an aluminum chassis. Everyone won.
  • Imagine if everyone just did that? Instead of sue the bejesus out of everyone else. If everyone came to an agreement like ADULTS. The world would be a much better place.
  • As you said Samsung made billions ripping off Apple's designs from then and only has to pay 120 million which I completely don't agree. And that's why Samsung still continues to do it bec the minor penalty they have to pay is so worth it for them which is why they still do. Perfect and latest example is their browser which totally rips off /looks like Apple's Safari browser interface with the exact menu layout!
  • Every single penny of profit Apple made from their mobile products (which is all of it) for the past two years was made because they refuse to pay Qualcomm. I disagree with Qualcomm's business practices, but you can't ignore the billions Apple made by not paying.
  • Sorry Jerry but you are so wrong with that. Apple makes way more profit than not paying a few billion in royalties to Qualcomm supposedly for the past 2 years. I'm not an expert when it comes to patents or how companies like Qualcomm bundle their patents and how they agree on a price when licensing to companies that want /need to use them for their phones like Apple, Samsung, BlackBerry and etc. BlackBerry won their lawsuit against Qualcomm for unfair of overcharging them. One of Apple's lawsuits is for the same reason that Qualcomm is charging them more for their technology patents on the Plus model compared to the same on the smaller model bec Apple charges more for the Plus model.
  • Yeah..>Really Jerry!
  • LOL the ignorance of some of these comments are amusing. Samsung technologies is totally a different co? BLAH thats like saying Samsung washers and dryers are a totally different co. Dude wake up and smell the coffee . it MAYBE technically a different co but its OWNED by Samsung and its just a subsidiary .. . NEXT
    Apple infringes also, but the smaller cos cant afford to fight like Samsung has. Apple made the 6+ because of the Notes success. Size matters!
    OF COURSE im sure many of you are offended by that statement.. Now lets see if Qualcomm gets paid .
  • independent subsidiaries. Words matter.
  • Yes Apple made the Plus model to compete with the bigger phones like Samsung's Note while offering a smaller model. Now Samsung is offering a Plus /+ model of their own to compete with Apple.
  • It s all from USA ! Whatever is illogical on earth is the capitalism American system representative on the best side. Hhahhahha never ever deal with the very dirty and unreliable USA way of life !
  • I thought Jim McKeeth of Embarcadero owned the Swipe to Unlock patent, not Apple.