Samsung will pay Apple $548M in patent dispute

Samsung has agreed to pay Apple $548 million to settle a patent dispute that began in 2011, according to FOSS Patents. But it still isn't clear that the case is really settled.

The case centers on multiple patents, including one for a pinch-to-zoom API that has been ruled invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple has appealed that decision from the USPTO.

The companies filed a joint statement in a California court announcing Samsung will make the payment if it receives an invoice from Apple before the weekend.

The statement claims that Samsung reserves the right "to obtain reimbursement from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) based on future judgments, however, including any ruling based on USPTO proceedings regarding the patents in question. Apple disputes those rights in the same statement.

A U.S. court will decide next year whether Apple deserves more money in damages.

The settlement -- such as it is -- is part of a case that saw Apple initially win more than $1 billion in damages in 2012 after asking for $2.5 billion. The case was eventually split in two, with Thursday's agreement as the settlement for the technology patents in question. The second component -- a $382 million claim from Apple over packaging materials -- is scheduled to be decided by a jury next year.

Adding to the uncertainty in the case is the fact that Samsung announced earlier this year that it plans to request a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"If the top U.S. court agreed to hear that matter and agreed with what will likely be a broad industry coalition, there would have to be a retrial," noted FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller. Additionally, Mueller observed, the USPTO is "under serious pressure" for awarding a design patent for Apple's iPhone that is part of the case.

So despite yesterday's proclamation of a settlement between the two companies, "this will go on for some more time," Mueller wrote.

For more:
- see this FOSS Patents report
- see this The Verge article
- see this BBC article

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