Apple Vs. Samsung: Our Complete Patent Court Battle Timeline


The ongoing patent court battle between tech giants Apple and Samsung has captured the attention of the tech world for years. With each company accusing the other of patent infringement, the legal fight has been intense and complex. From claims of copying design elements to disputes over software functionality, the court cases have covered a wide range of issues in the mobile phone industry.

In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the timeline of the Apple vs. Samsung patent court battle. We will delve into the major events, key rulings, and legal strategies employed by both companies. Whether you are a tech enthusiast or simply interested in the legal dynamics of the industry, this article will provide you with a detailed understanding of one of the most high-profile patent battles in recent history.

Inside This Article

  1. Early Patent Disputes (2011-2012)
  2. The First Trial: Apple’s Victory (2012)
  3. Appeals and Reversals (2013-2016)
  4. Conclusion
  5. FAQs

Early Patent Disputes (2011-2012)

In 2011, the battle for dominance between Apple and Samsung entered a new phase when Apple filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. The lawsuit claimed that Samsung’s smartphones and tablets were copying the design and functionality of Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

This marked the beginning of a long and contentious legal battle between the two tech giants. Both companies accused each other of stealing ideas and designs, with Apple claiming that Samsung had copied the iconic design elements of the iPhone, such as the rounded corners and grid of colorful icons.

As the legal proceedings unfolded, it became clear that several key patents were in dispute. Apple argued that Samsung had infringed on its utility patents, which cover the functionality of a device, such as the “slide to unlock” feature and “tap to zoom” capabilities. Samsung, on the other hand, claimed that Apple was infringing on its patents related to wireless communication technologies.

The early patent disputes between Apple and Samsung were marked by lawsuits and counter-lawsuits filed in various courts around the world. Both companies sought injunctions to ban the sales of each other’s products and demanded hefty damages for alleged patent infringements.

In 2012, a major breakthrough occurred when a jury in the United States ruled in favor of Apple, finding Samsung guilty of infringing on several of its patents. Samsung was ordered to pay over $1 billion in damages to Apple. This victory for Apple was seen as a significant blow to Samsung’s reputation and a validation of Apple’s claims of patent infringement.

However, the legal battle was far from over. Samsung immediately appealed the ruling, leading to a series of appeals and reversals in the following years.

Despite the ongoing legal disputes, it’s worth noting that Apple and Samsung continued to compete fiercely in the market, with both companies releasing innovative and popular devices. The courtroom battles between these industry giants served as a testament to the high stakes involved in the smartphone market and the importance of protecting intellectual property.

The First Trial: Apple’s Victory (2012)

In 2012, the highly anticipated patent court battle between Apple and Samsung finally reached its first trial. The trial, held in the United States, was considered a crucial turning point in the legal dispute between the two tech giants. After years of accusations and counter-accusations regarding patent infringement, it was finally time for a jury to decide the outcome.

Apple’s case against Samsung revolved around several key patents, including design and utility patents related to the iPhone and iPad. The Cupertino-based company claimed that Samsung had copied its iconic design and user interface, violating Apple’s intellectual property rights. Samsung, on the other hand, argued that their products were the result of independent innovation and not a deliberate copy of Apple’s designs.

The trial proceedings were intense, with both sides presenting a plethora of evidence to support their claims. Apple showcased numerous internal documents and design comparisons to prove that Samsung had indeed copied its products. Samsung, on the other hand, presented its own set of evidence, highlighting the development process and the unique features of their devices.

After weeks of testimony and deliberation, the jury delivered a verdict in favor of Apple. The jury found that Samsung had indeed infringed on several of Apple’s patents and awarded Apple a substantial amount in damages – over a billion dollars, to be exact. The decision was seen as a major victory for Apple, establishing its dominance in the smartphone market and sending a strong message to other competitors.

The jury’s verdict had far-reaching consequences for both Apple and Samsung. The decision not only impacted their financial standings but also influenced the broader technology industry. It ignited a series of legal battles and patent disputes between various smartphone manufacturers, as each sought to protect their intellectual property and market position.

However, it’s important to note that this trial was just the beginning of a long legal saga between Apple and Samsung. The battle would continue in the appellate courts, with decisions being overturned and damages adjusted in subsequent proceedings.

The First Trial: Apple’s victory in 2012 set the stage for future legal clashes between the two tech giants. It highlighted the significance of intellectual property rights in the ever-evolving mobile industry and served as a cautionary tale for other companies to avoid patent infringement.

Appeals and Reversals (2013-2016)

After Apple’s initial victory in the patent infringement trial against Samsung, the legal battle continued. Both companies were determined to assert their claims and protect their intellectual property. In 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the decision of the trial court, concluding that some of Apple’s design patents were not infringed by Samsung. However, it upheld the finding that Samsung had infringed on certain utility patents related to features like “bounce-back” scrolling and tap-to-zoom.

Following the appeals court ruling, the case went back to the trial court for further proceedings. In 2014, a new trial took place to reassess the damages owed by Samsung for the infringement of the utility patents. The jury awarded Apple $120 million in damages, significantly less than the initial $1 billion verdict. This decision sparked further legal maneuvering as both companies sought to challenge and modify the outcome.

In 2015, the Federal Circuit once again stepped in to review the case. This time, it reversed the damages awarded to Apple, stating that Samsung’s infringement of the design patents did not result in the total profits from the sale of its infringing devices. The court ruled that damages should be recalculated based on the individual patented components rather than the entire product.

With the damages verdict overturned, the case made its way to the United States Supreme Court in 2016. The issue at hand was how to calculate damages for design patent infringement. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of Samsung, stating that the damages do not necessarily have to be based on the entire profit derived from the sale of an infringing product if the design patent covers only a small portion of that product.

The Supreme Court’s decision marked a significant setback for Apple, as it limited the damages they could seek in future design patent cases. This ruling had implications beyond just the Apple vs. Samsung battle, as it set a precedent for the entire smartphone industry and other tech companies involved in design patent disputes.

Despite the reversal of damages and the legal challenges faced by both companies, the patent court battle between Apple and Samsung continued. It showcased the fierce competition and desire to assert their dominance in the smartphone market. The legal wrangling between these tech giants demonstrated the importance of protecting intellectual property rights and the high stakes involved in the mobile industry.


As we have explored the patent court battles between Apple and Samsung, it is clear that these two tech giants have been engaged in a fierce competition over the years. Both companies have filed numerous lawsuits against each other, accusing one another of patent infringement.

These legal disputes have not only highlighted the importance of intellectual property rights in the technology industry but also shed light on the complex relationship between innovation and competition. The court battles have resulted in significant financial implications for both Apple and Samsung, as well as important legal precedents.

Regardless of the outcome of these patent disputes, it is evident that both Apple and Samsung have played instrumental roles in shaping the smartphone landscape and driving technological advancements. Their ongoing rivalry has spurred innovation and led to the creation of innovative features and functionalities that have redefined the way we use our cell phones.

In conclusion, while the courtroom battles between Apple and Samsung continue, it is undeniable that their competition has been pivotal in pushing the boundaries of technology and providing consumers with cutting-edge devices.


1. Can you explain the Apple vs. Samsung patent court battle?

The Apple vs. Samsung patent court battle refers to the numerous legal lawsuits and disputes between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. over alleged patent infringements. The two tech giants have been engaged in a worldwide legal battle spanning several years, with both companies accusing each other of copying design elements and functionalities of their respective smartphones.

2. What are some key moments in the Apple vs. Samsung patent court battle?

– April 2011: Apple files a lawsuit against Samsung, alleging infringement of design and utility patents.
– August 2012: Apple wins a major victory, with a jury ruling that Samsung infringed on several Apple patents.
– September 2015: Samsung agrees to pay Apple $548 million in damages, but continues to appeal the decision.
– December 2016: The U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Samsung, stating that damages in patent infringement cases should not be awarded based on the total profits of an infringing product.
– May 2018: A new trial takes place to determine the damages Samsung owes Apple.
– June 2018: Samsung is ordered to pay Apple $539 million in damages.
– October 2018: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upholds the previous ruling, stating that Samsung infringed on Apple’s patents.

3. How has the Apple vs. Samsung patent court battle affected the tech industry?

The legal battle between Apple and Samsung has had a significant impact on the tech industry. It has raised questions about intellectual property rights, patent infringement, and the design of smartphones. The lawsuits have prompted other companies to be more cautious with their product designs and features, in order to avoid potential legal disputes.

4. Is the Apple vs. Samsung patent court battle still ongoing?

While the major court battles between Apple and Samsung have largely been resolved, there are still some ongoing legal disputes between the two companies in various countries. The issue of patent infringement continues to be a point of contention, and smaller lawsuits between the companies occasionally arise.

5. How has the Apple vs. Samsung patent court battle affected consumers?

The legal battle between Apple and Samsung has not had a direct impact on consumers in terms of usability or availability of products. However, it has indirectly affected the industry by shaping the competitive landscape and influencing the design choices made by smartphone manufacturers. It has also resulted in increased awareness and importance of patent rights and intellectual property among consumers.