A Rumor that has been circulating today that the fine of $1 billion, which Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) owes Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for patent infringement has been paid in quite a humorous way. The rumor which states that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) sent “more than 30 trucks to Apple's headquarters loaded with nickels [5-cent pieces],” are baseless.
Such rumors could never be true (may be later, when the damages are actually due and Samsung resorts to such acts), as the fine awarded by jury is not yet payable. The final decision, which could including tripling of the fine, is due at a later date. As of now we only have verdict. Also, as per the US laws, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could legally deny the payment in coins. The following statement from US treasury, highlights the fact:
“Q: I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn't this illegal?
A: The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," which states: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."
According to this laws, all US money are legal tender and should be accepted and paid freely. However, there is no Federal statute mandating the same for a private business, a person or an organization. Private organizations are free to frame their own payment methods. Also, it’s going to take way more than 30 trucks to carry $1 billion in cents, unless the payment is in instalments. The sell side analysts have not yet calculated the amount of trucks needed for $1 billion of nickels.
The rumor all started with the news that more than 30 trucks carrying coins of 5 cents reached Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially the security at the gate assumed it came to a wrong place until Tim Cook, Apple Inc NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO, received a call from his Samsung counterpart explaining that they will be paying the $1 billion fine in this fashion. The news also cited a statement from Samsung Electronics chairman that they are not going to be perturbed by a group of “geeks with style” and that if Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) want to play dirty; they also know how to do it. The news went viral in part because the signed legal document does not specify any payment method.
What if the rumors had been true? the iPhone maker will then have to devise a method for counting all the money plus find a secure place to store them until they are deposited in the bank, and that to only if the bank is willing to accept $1 billion in coins.
This hilarious story originated from "humour" site 9gag, which has been described as "a place normally reserved for z-list memes and screenshots of Facebook statuses." Whatever it is, the news will surely prompt US regulators to plug the loophole regarding the payment method for a private organization and could also force the jury to specify the payment method for the $1 billion damages.