The long-running patent battle between Apple and Samsung is finally over.
The two phone giants on Wednesday notified a district court in San Jose, California, that “they have agreed to drop and settle their remaining claims and counterclaims in this matter.” Judge Lucy Koh, of the Northern District of California, signed the order dismissing all suits with prejudice, which means another case can’t be filed on the same claim.
The terms of the settlement are unclear.
Apple and Samsung have been fighting over the designs and functionality of their smartphones and tablets since 2011. For the companies, the long-running battle was about more than money. What was really at stake was the market for mobile devices.
“This settlement marks the official end of the ‘smartphone patent wars,'” said Brian Love, an assistant professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law. “So, it seems like an opportune time to ask: After almost a decade of litigation, what was accomplished? I’d say very little.”
He noted that Apple received hundreds of millions of dollars from Samsung, but it never succeeded in taking Samsung products off the market. And since the first suit was filed, the market share for Android, the software powering Samsung’s phones, has soared. This year, about 85 percent of all smartphones shipped in the world will run Google’s Android, according to IDC. The remaining 15 percent will run Apple’s iOS software.
Apple referred CNET back to a comment from May:
“We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers,” the company said. “This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.”
Samsung declined to comment.
The original Apple v. Samsung trial in 2012 captivated Silicon Valley and the tech industry because it exposed the inner workings of two notoriously secretive companies. It was just one of many cases around the world as the rivals sparred both in the marketplace and in the courtroom. The two companies settled their international lawsuits in 2014 but have been battling in US courts as recently as May.
The devices at issue in the case, though, haven’t been sold for years and predate Samsung’s meteoric rise in mobile phones. Apple and Samsung also had another case pending that related to newer devices, like 2012’s Galaxy S3.