Samsung Announces the “Galaxy Fold” While Apple Works to Finalize Foldable Device Patent - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Samsung Announces the “Galaxy Fold” While Apple Works to Finalize Foldable Device Patent

Samsung Announces the “Galaxy Fold” While Apple Works to Finalize Foldable Device Patent

Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy Fold, the first ever foldable smartphone device to be made widely available on the market.1 The Galaxy Fold is scheduled to launch on April 26th.2 In the meantime, Samsung is reportedly working on unique designs for two additional foldable phones.3 Smartphone consumers will not be surprised to learn that Apple is also working on concepts for a foldable device.4The tech giant currently holds a patent for “flexible display devices”5 and filed updates to their patent just last month.6

This race towards innovation comes less than one year since Apple and Samsung settled a seven-year-long patent battle.7 The dispute began in 2011 when Apple sued Samsung for allegedly copying the design and software features of the iPhone.8 Samsung had made $3.3 billion from the sale of 8.6 million smartphones, the devices at issue in the case.9 After countersuits, trials, appeals, and a Supreme Court ruling sending the case back to the lower court to reassess the damages amount10, a jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $539 million for infringing multiple iPhone patents.11 A patent is infringed when “in the eye of an ordinary observer, giving such attention as a purchaser usually gives, two designs are substantially the same.”12
As for the terms of the settlement, the companies did not disclose them.13 Nonetheless, this dispute is considered the most prominent case in a series of lawsuits over smartphone patents in the last decade,14 with Apple and Samsung having spent hundreds of millions of dollars to litigate it.15 It was also the first design patent case to be heard by the Supreme Court in over a century.16

Following last year’s jury award, Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock stressed the importance of “continu[ing] to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.”17 It appears Apple is doing just that. Its patent application for a foldable device includes diagrams showing various elements of the design Apple is seeking to protect. One diagram shows the device bent into a pyramid shape, presumably allowing for two viewers sitting opposite one another to operate the device at once.18 Another diagram shows the spring mechanism that allows the device to bend where it does. 19

It remains unclear whether Apple’s folding device will take the form of a smartphone or a tablet.20 Either way, Apple is working to ensure that they have the rights to build their device in due time.21

  1. Tom Warren, Samsung’s Foldable Phone is the Galaxy Fold, The Verge (Feb. 20, 2019, 2:04 PM), []

  2. Id.

  3. Sam Byford, Samsung Reportedly Planning Two More Foldable Phones, The Verge (Mar. 5, 2019 10:00 PM), []

  4. Ian Morris, Apple Patent Confirms It Is Still Working On Folding iPhone or iPad, Forbes (Feb. 17, 2019, 7:52 AM), []

  5. U.S. Patent Application Publication (filed Oct. 12, 2018), []

  6. See supra note 4.

  7. Kaya Yurieff, Apple and Samsung settle their epic patent infringement battle, CNN Bus. (Jun. 27, 2018, 7:02 PM), []

  8. Id.

  9. Roger Fingas, Apple versus Samsung Patent Trial Finally Completely Over, Apple Insider (Jun., 27 2018, 3:00 PM), []

  10. Id.

  11. Jack Nicas, Apple and Samsung End Smartphone Patent Wars, N.Y. Times (Jun. 27, 2018),  []

  12. Samsung v. Apple, 580 U.S. 2 (2016).

  13. Jacob Kastrenakes, Apple and Samsung Settle Seven-Year-Long Patent Fight Over Copying the iPhone, The Verge (Jun. 27, 2018, 2:50 PM), []

  14. Jack Nicas, Apple and Samsung End Smartphone Patent Wars, See supra note 11.

  15. See supra note 7.

  16. Adam Liptak and Vindu Goel, Supreme Court Gives Samsung a Reprieve in Apple Patent Case, N.Y. Times (Dec. 6, 2016), []

  17. See supra note 11.

  18. See supra note 4.

  19. Id.

  20. Id.

  21. Id.

Maria Lathouris

Maria Lathouris is a second-year J.D. candidate at Fordham University School of Law and a staff member of the Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. Maria holds a B.A. in history from New York University.