Apple and Samsung have finally settled their 7-year-old case over smartphone design

These are apparently the only two ways you can design a phone now.
These are apparently the only two ways you can design a phone now.
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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After seven years, Samsung and Apple have finally settled a lawsuit that alleged Samsung copied Apple’s design for the iPhone.

Apple first sued the Korean technology giant back in 2011, and it won the case in 2012. Over the next six years, the decision was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, and then returned to the district level. Today (June 27), Lucy Koh, a judge in Northern California’s district court, said the two companies had reached a settlement. The terms were not disclosed.

In its 2011 complaint, Apple wrote: “Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple’s innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design, in violation of Apple’s valuable intellectual property rights.”

Samsung supplies critical components to the iPhone, including its A5 processors. But, as evidenced by the number of cases that Apple has brought against Android manufacturers in recent years, Apple is not afraid to sue in order to defend its intellectual property. Today’s settlement comes on the heels of another patent battle with Samsung, over the iPhone’s slide-to-unlock functionality, in which Apple won $120 million in November of last year.

Apple and Samsung have declined to comment on today’s settlement, but Apple pointed reporters to a statement made in May when the case was last ruled on. “We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers,” Apple wrote. “This case has always been about more than money.”