Almost two years after a patent dispute, rivals Apple and Samsung will return to the courtroom in a similar trial about smartphone and tablet patents – only this time, with brand new devices , including the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4S.

The trial, which begins March 31, according to CNET, is the latest in a patent infringement battle that has involved jury trials, International Trade Commission disputes, and even international suits.  Apple and Samsung have accused each other of copying features in their smartphones and tablets, and a jury will have to decide who infringed and how much money is due.

To get a clearer understanding of what the patent war is about, CNET put together an FAQ:

When did this litigation start?

In 2011, Apple filed suit against Samsung, accusing it of copying the look and feel of its iPhones and iPads. Samsung countersued, and the case went to trial in 2012. A jury sided with Apple on a majority of its patent infringement claims against Samsung, awarding Apple $1.05 billion in damages. In March 2013, Judge Koh ordered a new trial to recalculate the damages, striking $450.5 million off the original judgment against Samsung. Apple was later awarded Apple an additional $290.5 million.

What is the 2014 trial about?

In 2012, Apple filed suit against Samsung, while Samsung then filed counterclaims against Apple. In Apple’s original suit, the company said Samsung “has systematically copied Apple’s innovative technology and products, features, and designs, and has deluged markets with infringing devices in an effort to usurp market share from Apple.” Apple argues that it took on more work and risk to develop the first iPhone and iPad, while Samsung argues that Apple is hurting competition by targeting it for litigation.

What patents does the trial involve?

There are seven patents involved, which include five held by Apple and two by Samsung. Both companies wanted to include more patents in their suits, but Judge Koh limited the number. Apple has accused Samsung of infringing U.S. patents 5,946,647; 6,847,959; 7,761,414; 8,046,721; and 8,074,172. Samsung has accused Apple of infringing U.S. patents 6,226,449 and 5,579,239, or in shorthand, ’449 and ’239.

How much money is at stake?

Apple wants about $2 billion from Samsung and Samsung is asking for much less because it believes royalties shouldn’t be so high. The company wants about $7 million in royalties for Apple’s accused infringement ($6.78 million for the ’239 patent and $158,400 for the ’449 patent), according CNET.

What does this mean for consumers?

This trial may not mean much to consumers. But, this time around, the accused devices are some still sold by the companies. Apple has included the Galaxy S3, Samsung’s extremely popular smartphone, on its list of infringing products, while Samsung has accused the iPhone 4S In a worst case scenario, the losing company would face a sales ban.

What does this mean for Apple and Samsung?

Both tech giants generate billions of dollars a year in profits. For Apple, the trial is about pride in its inventions and protecting its position in the market. For Samsung, it’s about proving the company is an innovator in its own right.


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