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August 24th 2012 6:55 pm

Apple v. Samsung: Verdict!

The jury has reached a verdict in the Apple/Samsung trial:
  • Almost every Samsung device infringes on three of Apple's software patents, including scrollback and tap to zoom.
  • Many of Samsung's devices infringe on Apple's overall design patents. In essence, Samsung copied the look and feel of Apple's devices.
  • Samsung was unable to provide clear and convincing evidence that Apple's utility and design patent claims are invalid.
  • The Jury found that Samsung willfully violated five of Apple's six patents.
  • Samsung is guilty of diluting Apple's trade dress patents. Essentially, Samsung's designs caused consumer confusion.
  • Samsung violated the Sherman Antitrust Act through its monopolization of the UMTS cell standard in certain markets.
  • Apple found not guilty of infringing on any of Samsung's patent claims with the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4. Apple owes $0 to Samsung in damages. On the other hand...
Jury awarded Apple $1,049,393,540 in damages for Samsung's patent violations.
So, what does this mean for the consumer? Well, not much in the short term. It's unclear how quickly these infringements will result in injunctions that limit the sale of many of Samsung's devices, but Apple will probably seek them sooner rather than later (updated below with injunction hearing date).

In the long run, it can be interpreted as both good and bad. On one hand, Apple has basically forced Samsung to do original innovating. This means that we will probably see some new designs and features coming out of Samsung's camp. Of course, many of the software patents Samsung is guilty of violating, like tap to zoom, also span across every Android device. This means that we're likely to certain gestures and UI implementations change across the operating system as a whole.

On the other hand, the rulings in this case can be seen as somewhat of a loss for the American consumer. The jury basically affirmed that something as simple as a rectangle with rounded corners can be patented and enforced. Unfortunately, many are going to blame Apple for trying to stifle competition with lawsuits like this. The only problem is that Apple has to enforce these patents if they want to keep them. So, not only was this trial eye-opening in regards to competition between Apple and Samsung, but it really sheds light on a fundamentally broken patent system.

Nevertheless, this is a huge win for Apple. Only time will tell how the ripple effects of this trial will change the technology industry.

Update: On 8/27. Apple revealed which Samsung devices it will try to injunct in the US:
  • Galaxy S 4G
  • Galaxy S2 (AT&T)
  • Galaxy S2 (Skyrocket)
  • Galaxy S2 (T-Mobile)
  • Galaxy S2 Epic 4G
  • Galaxy S Showcase
  • Droid Charge
  • Galaxy Prevail
The injunction hearing will take place on the 20th of September with the same Judge that presided over Apple v. Samsung.
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It's totally ridiculous...do you mean that other phone makers have to create circle or triangle shaped phones. Do Americans undestand what they are doing to they own freedom of choice? It reminds me of the mid 80's Apple commercial, depicting IBM as the "Big brother", I think that Apple became that Big brother, forcing the consummer to have no choice but to buy Apple design, Apple software, Apple hardware. People don't undestand the true long term consequences, of this ruling.
And i'm really not an Ihater or Ilover, i buy products I like (ipod touch, Ipad, galaxy note).
3 like dislike

Read my view on this verdict

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"fundamentally broken patent system"--I definitely agree.

Software patents really are horrible.

This is bad for smaller companies who want to supply competition for a variety of reasons:
1. All patents are enforceable and you will have to pay
2. To play this game you must have top notch lawyers
3. What else can't companies do that's just plain obvious?

Young lawyers and law school attendees should be happy that this was resolved. I feel that these kind of lawsuits fund firms ability to hire new candidates.

Samsung products do look exactly like Apple on the shelf. If for nothing else they should have to pay for copying their packaging design, so this kinda thing was inevitable for many people.
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I just wish it was possible for Apple to get a retroactive injunction for my Droid Charge purchase! It is the worst phone I have owned mainly due to lack of RAM and the bloatware which consumes most of the memory (it is also annoyingly thick and bulky). I only bought it last minute at Costco so I could get a Verizon unlimited data plan (bought it on the very last day before the unlimited plan ended).
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I don't think there was ever any doubt that sooner or later, something was going to happen legally. I mean, even on a non-patent/legal level, it's so clear that a ridiculous amount of designs, from software icons to external packaging, were copied. And now Samsung has to pay for what it's done.
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