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Apple-Samsung Patent Dispute Finally Comes to a Quiet End

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The legal battle between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ) and Samsung finally has come to an end.

The Apple-Samsung patent dispute settled Wednesday, ending a seven-year battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court and cost both companies untold millions.

The result seems somewhat anticlimactic for such a bitter, drawn-out fight. But the vast change in the smartphone space this decade rendered many of the arguments moot.

With new leadership, new challenges, and new projects, it does make some sense that both companies finally decided to move on.

The Epic Apple-Samsung Patent Dispute

Apple first sued Samsung back in 2011 for slavishly copying key features of the iPhone. It was a huge case, with Apple essentially arguing that it owned many of the key features that made the smartphone smart.

Apple originally requested $2.5 billion in damages.

Apple would score a win the next year, when a jury awarded Apple nearly $1 billion .

Samsung appealed, and by 2014 the companies reportedly were negotiating a settlement while also litigating over a different patent.

Apple already had come to terms with Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL , GOOG ), claiming that the Android operating system, too, violated its patents.

But the settlement talks fell through, and the case eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Samsung scored a big victory there, essentially starting the process all over again. Nearly two years later, the companies have settled.

The Settlement of the Apple-Samsung Patent Dispute

While the terms are undisclosed, it's very possible that both companies lost, given the legal fees and resources dedicated to the seven years' worth of litigation.

Indeed, it seems like the Apple-Samsung patent dispute has gone out not with a bang, but with a whimper.

All that said, there's a lot of good news for both companies. Apple's market cap has roughly tripled since the beginning of the battle.

Samsung has dealt with bribery charges and other concerns but still holds over 20% of the smartphone market.

Despite the bitter and long-lasting legal fight, both companies indeed have prospered in the meantime. And with little reason to keep fighting, it makes sense that the two companies would call off hostilities.

Apple's original $2.5 billion demand wouldn't even be material against a $900 billion market capitalization.

Apple has insisted, however, that " the case has always been about more than money ". Asking a jury or judge to overhaul hardware (or software) features at this point seems ludicrous.

And with low-cost Chinese competitors a threat to both companies, the idea of fighting over core intellectual property seems a bygone relic at this point. If anything, it's perhaps surprising that the fight lasted this long.

What The Settlement Means

The greatest irony of the settlement is just how little it matters. The case always drew attention as a battle between two tech titans. But in the end, it had exceedingly little, if any, effect, on the industry.

Smartphone adoption has boomed worldwide to the point that what was a huge growth opportunity in 2011 now is a mature market in 2018. So many features unthinkable in 2011 are available on even the lowest-cost options.

Indeed, the case never changed the industry. Rather, the changes in the industry eventually made the case a battle over little more than pride. Apple and Samsung might be moving on - but the rest of us had already done so long ago.

As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned.

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The post Apple-Samsung Patent Dispute Finally Comes to a Quiet End appeared first on InvestorPlace .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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