Apple Inc. lost an appeals court ruling Friday that invalidated two of its patents, including the iPhone's slide-to-unlock feature, and threw out a $119.6 million jury verdict against Samsung Electronics Co. The court ruling not only ensures Samsung doesn't have to write another check to Apple; it can also continue using the smartphone features and won't have to make any changes to older models. The appeals court threw out the verdict that Apple had won, but upheld a jury finding that iPhone maker has to pay a $158,400 damage award for infringing a Samsung patent on video compression. The case is one of two major suits between the companies, which is all that's left of a global patent war that began in April 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of "slavishly" copying the iPhone. An Apple victory in the other case, involving the patented designs of the phone, was upheld on appeal and is awaiting possible consideration by the US Supreme Court.
In this case, Apple claimed that Samsung infringed patents for the slide-to-unlock feature, autocorrect and a way to detect phone numbers that can then be touched to make phone calls. The autocorrect patent is invalid and the detection patent wasn't infringed, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in an opinion posted on its electronic docket. The court upheld the jury's verdict that two other Apple patents, for universal search and background syncing, weren't infringed. Samsung had a counterclaim related to video compression. The jury said Apple infringed one patent and not the other; the appeals court agreed. A Federal Circuit panel in September said Apple was entitled to a narrow order that would have forced Samsung to remove the slide-to-unlock and other features that were found to infringe the Apple patents. Two Federal Circuit judges were on both panels.