How Apple and Samsung Got to $548 Million

December 5, 2015, 3:13 PM UTC
Courtesy of Apple

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.” —Steve Jobs to Walter Isaacson, March 2010.

In a joint statement filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif. on Thursday, Samsung agreed to pay Apple $548 million to settle a patent infringement lawsuit filed nearly five years earlier. Apple (AAPL) had demanded more than $2 billion. The original jury verdict was for just over $1 billion.

The lawsuit, one of more than 50 Apple and Samsung filed against each other in at least 20 countries, was among the world’s most closely watched patent trials, with many twists and turns.

The highlights:

  • Jan. 2007: Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone. “Boy have we patented it,” he says.
  • June 2007: Apple releases first iPhone.
  • Dec. 2007: Google announces Open Handset Alliance. HTC, Sony, and Samsung are members.
  • Oct. 2008: HTC Dream, based on Android, but with swing-out keyboard, is released.
  • Jan. 2010: Google and HTC release Nexus One with touchscreen keyboard and multi-touch gestures.
  • Mar. 2010: Apple sues HTC. Steve Jobs vows to go “thermonuclear” on Android.
  • Dec. 2010: Samsung releases Nexus S, its version of the Nexus One.
  • April 2011: Apple sues Samsung. Claims infringement of patents, trademarks, user interface, and style.
  • April 2011: Samsung countersues. Claims infringement of mobile-communications patents.
  • July 2012: Apple v. Samsung jury trial begins in California, Judge Lucy Koh presiding.
  • Aug. 2012: Jury returns verdict. Apple awarded $1.05 billion, Samsung $0.
  • Dec. 2012: Judge Koh decides jury made $400 million error. In Nov. 2013 retrial Apple awarded $290 million.
  • Dec. 2012: Judge Koh denies Apple’s motion to halt U.S. sales of Samsung’s infringing devices.
  • April 2014: In second Apple v. Samsung trial, jury awards Apple $120 million, Samsung $160,000.
  • Dec. 2015: Samsung agrees to pay Apple $548 million.


The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small.” —Henry Wadworth Longfellow

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe via his RSS feed. You might also want to subscribe to Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the business of technology.

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