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Did Samsung Pay a $1 Billion Fine to Apple in 5 Cent Coins?

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Message circulating via social media claims that Samsung paid a 1 billion dollar patent infringement penalty to Apple in 5 cent coins delivered in more than 30 trucks. 

Brief Analysis

No, Samsung did NOT pay Apple in five cent coins and has no intention of doing so. The message is a hoax. The story began life on a satirical humour site, but soon escaped the confines of its original context and began circulating in the guise of a genuine news item. The image shown in many of the messages has been posted online since at least 2007 and reportedly depicts one-cent blanks that would later be struck into pennies.

Example

Samsung Apple 5 cent coin hoax

Samsung pays Apple $1 Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins

This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. I

 

Detailed Analysis

On August 24, 2012, South Korean company, Samsung was ordered via a court ruling to pay rival Apple $1.05 billion after it was found to have “willfully infringed” on several of Apple’s patented devices. Soon after, a story began circulating that claimed that Samsung had paid the massive fine in 5 cent coins, which it supposedly had delivered to Apple headquarters in a fleet of 30 trucks.

According to the story, which circulated in the form of a “news” article, the payment agreement did not specify exactly how the penalty was to be paid, so Samsung could pay in any way it wished.

But, not surprisingly, the claims in the story are utter nonsense. Samsung certainly did not pay its penalty to Apple via truckloads of five cent coins. In fact, the story began life as a satirical article on a humour website and was never intended to be taken seriously. 
The first version of the story may have been published in Spanish on the satirical website El Deforma on August 27, 2012. The story was soon republished in English on various other humour websites, before finally escaping its satirical origins and making its way around the Internet via the blogosphere and social media.

Of course, while an entity might daydream about truckloads of small change as a fitting way of paying off what it considered an unjust penalty, in reality, the logistics of undertaking such an exercise would be daunting indeed. Actually procuring so many five cent coins in the first place would likely be extremely difficult, especially in the short time frame between the court ruling and the supposed coin delivery.

And, if the fleet of coin-laden trucks did turn up, Apple would probably have the right to refuse them and demand payment via a more sensible manner. Moreover, if the payment had been made in the way described, the event would have captured the attention of the mainstream media and would have been widely reported by news outlets around the world. But, there are no legitimate news reports about the supposed payment, only fake news articles and wide-eyed blog posts.

Despite the initial ruling, the case is far from over and according to The Australian:

Samsung also is seeking to strike out the original court verdict and according to the Korea Times, is making preparations to counter “nearly every patent issue” that went against it in the US litigation, with parallel litigation pending across the world.

Thus, as might be expected, Samsung looks set to exact its revenge against Apple via ongoing legal channels rather than via a juvenile payment stunt.

And what of the accompanying picture apparently depicting a large volume of coins being made ready for delivery to Apple? In fact, the very same picture has been posted in various contexts online since at least 2007. The picture was featured in a November 2007 Bloomberg.com article with the caption “One-cent blanks to be struck into pennies”.

In other words, just another case of a totally made up story escaping the bounds of its original context and being passed around as real news.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer