The Apple vs. Samsung patent trial came to a conclusion today when a Jury has awarded a one billion dollars win in favor of Apple. Samsung was found guilty of (mostly) infringing a number of patents and designs, including “pinch & zoom” (despite prior art), “double-tap zoom”, the iPhone frontal design, the iPhone back design, just to name the most famous ones.
Samsung was not found guilty of infringing on all counts. For example, the Galaxy Tab design ended up being decided in favor of Samsung (that it does not infringe the iPad design). That said, the silicon-valley based jury did sway in Apple’s favor on a large majority of the disputed patents and designs. Interestingly, even though Samsung won a few isolated patent battles, the jury did not award any damages in favor of the Korean company.
The lawsuit ended up as most observers expected: although the patent dispute were technical, difficult to follow and sometime ridiculous, the jury ended up deciding largely in favor of Apple. Experts suspected as much because Apple has a better public image than Samsung, and it is a company that is very respected, if not “revered”, in Silicon Valley where the trial is held.
While this may not be over because there is always a possibility of appeal, this most definitely opens the door for Apple to go after everyone else. Samsung is indeed the biggest rival and arguably the most dangerous one as it has recently surpassed Apple in terms of units shipped (but not in terms of profits). However, many other companies could be considered to be infringing under the same circumstances (who does not use pinch & zoom?).
Do you think that this was a fair conclusion for this trial? Do you think that Apple will continue its legal battle and go “thermonuclear” against Android handset makers as Steve Jobs wanted? Is this good or bad for Apple’s image as an innovator? Let us know!
Here’s Apple’s official statement:
We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trail showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right. (Katie Cotton, PR employee at Apple)
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Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer. (Samsung)