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Samsung Wins Appeal in $120 Million Apple Patent Dispute, Though Case Largely Moot

What was once a battle over stopping Samsung from copying Apple has been reduced to a squabble over dollars.

Ina Fried

Samsung won an appeal in its second patent dispute with Apple Thursday, but in reality it got the better of Apple a long time ago — at least in the court battle.

When Apple first started suing Samsung several years ago, what it really wanted to do was stop Samsung from shipping key Android phones and get the hardware maker to change the way it designed products. Instead, the judge in the case, Lucy Koh, declined to issue injunctions. The case was reduced to one of dollars, and Apple already has billions of those.

As for Thursday’s ruling, the appeals court found that the trial court had improperly defined a key term in one patent at issue and that two other patents should have been declared invalid and tossed out a $120 million verdict.

The result is that Samsung probably won’t have to pay the jury’s award in this one, though an appeals court has already upheld a larger verdict in an earlier patent case, and Samsung is trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal on that one.

The second case is somewhat similar to the first. However, the second case involved a newer generation of products, and the patents were more closely tied to the Android operating system, as opposed to the first case which focused more on the physical similarities between the iPhone and Samsung phones.

Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects about Thursday’s reversal is that it comes just as President Obama has nominated Koh to become a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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