Samsung appeals $548m it agreed to pay Apple

On the day of its deadline for the payment of $548 million to rival Apple, Samsung has filed an appeal to the US Supreme Court to overturn the decision.

Despite agreeing to pay $548 million in damages to rival Apple earlier this month, Samsung has appealed to the US Supreme Court in the hope of overturning the ruling.

The two tech behemoths have been battling over smartphone design elements in court since 2012, when a jury at the US District Court of Northern California found in favour of Apple, after both parties were out for financial restitution of up to $2.5 billion in damages.

At issue since 2012 were design features now commonplace on smartphones and are familiar to consumers: A black, rectangular, round-cornered phone front, a surrounding rim, known as the "bezel", and a grid of 16 colourful icons.

Those design elements were protected, prompting the nine-person jury to award Apple all the profits from sales of smartphones containing those features, Samsung lawyers said in their filing.

"While Samsung prefers to compete in the marketplace, not the courtroom, the company feels that it is important to appeal this case to the US Supreme Court on behalf of all US companies, big and small, that could be affected if this legal precedent stands," the company said in an email response to AFP.

In a joint court statement earlier this month, the smartphone rivals confirmed that Samsung would, by December 14, pay Apple the $548 million awarded to it in September.

It emerged in August that Samsung may appeal the decision at the US Supreme Court, following a failed bid to contest the damages bill at the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Samsung believed that nearly $400 million of the damages was unfairly awarded.

On receipt of the payment, however, Apple said it would withdraw its request for the court to enforce the judgment.

The agreement, however, came with one key proviso, as the two tech giants agreed to continue "to pursue the existing cases in US courts".

Several of the world's technology titans filed briefs supporting Samsung while the case was in federal circuit court in Silicon Valley, according to the firm.

Lawyers for the South Korean consumer electronics titan argued that the massive payout was not warranted, because smartphones "contain countless other features that give them remarkable functionality wholly unrelated to their design".

"Even if the patented features contributed one percent of the value of Samsung's phones, Apple gets 100 per cent of Samsung's profits," the appeal said.

Apple told AFP that it stands by its comment after the trial victory in 2012.

"The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money," Apple said. "They were about values. We applaud the court for finding Samsung's behaviour wilful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right."

In September the US District Court approved a settlement between Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe, and over 64,000 current and former staff of the tech giants.

The verdict made by Judge Lucy Koh saw the end of the four-year class-action case, with Koh agreeing for the four conglomerates to pay $415 million to settle the case.

In 2011, Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe were accused of conspiring in a secret anti-poaching "gentlemen's agreement", whereby the four companies, and others, secretly agreed not to steal each other's staff.

In August, the four companies attempted to settle the class-action lawsuit, but Koh rejected their $325 million offer, ruling it was "too low".

Koh allegedly rejected the offered settlement amount on the basis that it was comparatively lower to the $20 million settlement she previously presided over involving Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar.

At the time, Koh believed a fairer figure would have been $380 million, noting the "compelling evidence" against the companies.

With AAP