Q&A: What does the Apple and Samsung patent case mean for the smartphone sector?

Samsung has been ordered to pay Apple more than £400 million in damages in the latest round of a legal battle over patents that began in 2011.

Here is what the ruling means.

- Why has Samsung been ordered to pay damages?

Previous rulings in this long-running court case determined that the Korean firm must pay damages for copying aspects of the original iPhone's design and technologies.

Apple contends that Samsung would not have emerged as the world's largest smartphone seller had it not copied certain technologies from the iPhone.

Samsung was originally ordered to pay more than one billion dollars, but a series of appeals and rulings saw that amount reduce and change on multiple occasions since - the latest settling on 539 million US dollars (£403 million).

This was in relation to three Apple design patents and two linked to functions on the original iPhone.

- How does the decision affect Samsung?

With the issue now solely focused on what Samsung must pay in damages, the decision will not impact Samsung in terms of the phones it makes and sells today.

(Martyn Landi/PA)
(Martyn Landi/PA)

The patents and apparent infringements around them are based on devices that are no longer made and sold, so the ruling is unlikely to have an impact on Samsung's current and future smartphone manufacturing.

Financially, the latest figure awarded represents a substantial amount of money, but in the long run is unlikely to greatly hinder the technology giant - its most recent quarterly financial results reported a net profit of more than 10 billion US dollars.

- What happens next?

Samsung has not confirmed yet if it plans to appeal against the decision, saying in a statement after the ruling that it will "consider all options", leaving open the possibility that the dispute could rumble on further.

The firm added that it hoped to "obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers."

In a company statement, Apple said: "This case has always been about more than money.

"Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design."