Jury Awards $1 Billion to Apple in Samsung Patent Case
By NICK WINGFIELD
Published: August 24, 2012
Apple won a decisive victory on Friday in a lawsuit against Samsung, a verdict that will give Apple ammunition in a far-flung patent war with its global competitors in the smartphone business.
A Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone, left, and an Apple iPhone 4.
The nine jurors in the case, who faced the daunting task of answering more than 700 questions on sometimes highly technical matters, returned a verdict after just three days of deliberations at a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. They found that Samsung infringed on a series of Apple’s patents on mobile devices, awarding Apple more than $1 billion in damages.
That is not a big financial blow to Samsung, one of the world’s largest electronics companies. But the decision could essentially force it and other smartphone makers to redesign their products to be less Apple-like, or risk further legal defeats.
Consumers could end up with some welcome diversity in phone and tablet design — or they may be stuck with devices that manufacturers have clumsily revamped to avoid crossing Apple.
Samsung said it would ask the court to overturn the verdict and, if that is unsuccessful, appeal to a higher court.
The jury found that various Samsung products violated Apple patents covering things like the “bounce back” effect when a user scrolls to the end of a list on the iPhone and iPad, and the pinch-to-zoom gesture that users make when they want to magnify an image. Samsung was also found to have infringed Apple patents covering the physical design of the iPhone.
In its decision on a countersuit by Samsung, the jury added some sting by finding in favor of Apple across the board. Samsung had asked for more than $422 million from Apple, contending it had violated Samsung’s patents, but got nothing.
Because Samsung was found to have willfully infringed Apple patents, the judge in the case could grant an Apple request to triple the damages Samsung is required to pay, though lawyers said the size of the initial award made this less likely.
Despite the eye-popping award, one of the largest ever in a patent case, the more important effect of the jury’s decision could be the impact it has on Android, the Google operating system used by Samsung and a broad array of other companies in their devices. For every iPhone sold worldwide, more than three smartphones running Android are sold, reflecting the meteoric rise of Google’s software.
Apple’s suit against Samsung, the world’s largest maker of smartphones, has partly been viewed as a proxy war against Google, which Apple executives have derided as a copycat, swiping Apple’s innovations. Steven P. Jobs, the late chief executive of Apple, told his biographer that Android was a “stolen product.”
Apple is expected to ask the judge in the Samsung case for an injunction preventing Samsung from shipping products that infringe on Apple’s patents. The verdict could also bolster Apple’s legal attacks on Android devices from other companies.
“It’s going to make it very difficult for not only Samsung, but for other companies to mimic the Apple products,” said Robert Barr, executive director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research, said consumers could experience some discomfort in their use of smartphones if Samsung and other manufacturers are forced to design around certain basic functions to avoid violating Apple’s patents, though he believes the decision will prod them to innovate. “Consumers will adapt, but there will be some bumps in the road as they make that adaptation,” Mr. Golvin said.
The trial provided a rare window into the inner workings of the two companies, especially the highly secretive Apple, forcing them to divulge sales figures, business negotiations and internal memos. Apple executives offered colorful detail, like the way its designers cook up new products around a kitchen table at the company’s headquarters.
The evidence Apple presented, including internal Samsung memos and strategy documents, left little doubt that the iPhone inspired a major effort by the Korean manufacturer to overhaul its mobile phones. But a key question throughout the trial was whether the jury would decide that Samsung had stepped over the line by improperly copying Apple’s technologies. The members of the jury did not explain their decision before stealthily heading out a side exit.
The verdict in the trial hardly concludes the legal battles over patents among companies in the mobile business. There are dozens of such cases winding their way through the courts; Samsung and Apple have also been battling in Germany, Australia and elsewhere. Even so, Samsung remains a major supplier of components for Apple products.
While the decision is likely to weigh on Samsung shares, it sent Apple’s stock up 1.8 percent in after-hours trading. In a statement, Katie Cotton, an Apple spokeswoman, applauded the court for sending a “clear message that stealing isn’t right.”
“We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy,” she said.
Samsung said in a statement that the decision was a “loss for the American consumer.”
“It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices,” the company said. “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.”
Mr. Kim has a new reason to hate the US.
American company sues Korean company in American court with American judge and American jury and American company wins...OMG how shocking...
It means nothing...Samsung will appeal, this will go on for decades...
Those Americans who ran out to buy Apple stock based on this decision are idiots...
"You really want to save the planet?...the next time you see a hybrid car with a childseat... smash the window, remove the childseat and replace it with a box of condoms..." Doug Stanhope
Thaitanium, I think you're the idiot here.
Nobody has ran-out to buy Apple stock already based on this news. The buying will happen on Monday. The verdict came after US markets were closed and most people don't have access to the after-hours market.
Although you're correct that appeals will be drawn out forever, the short-term impact is huge. Next week Apple will apply for and receive a ban on all infringing Samsung product sales in the US - right before the launch of Iphone5! Also, the judge may even triple the amount of damages awarded. The appeals will not be heard until early 2013 at the earliest, giving Apple a minumum of a 6 month near-monopoly (unless you think Blackberrys will be back in style) on smart phone sales.
Combine this with the Ipad mini (possibly next month) and Apple TV in early 2013, you have one of the strongest bull arguments anyone can ever make for a stock.
If you still disagree, please feel free to short Apple stock next week...
The story is a bit complicated to say the least. Samsung copied Apple (obviously! even a blind man can see that!). But then again, Apple also copied from someone else! Believe it or not, but there once was a fella (can't remember his name) who worked in a garage , next to Steve Jobs' garage (back when Jobs was still working in a garage), and was also friends with him and regularly discussed their work together. He came up with this great idea of reading the newspaper on a tablet and navigating the pages via a stylus (i.e. touch control). Unfortunately, technology wasn't up to scratch back then for him to realize his dreams, so the idea was scrapped. Decades later Steve Jobs came out with this great idea of a touch device, the iPad!
Steve Jobs once said "Good artists copy. Great artists steal!"
Decades ago the guy who came up with the idea of tablets made a video about it and the video went viral the day the iPad was announced. I read about his whole story on Techradar.com after Steve Jobs died and how Samsung hired the guy to come to court to tell his story and make Apple's patents invalid as Steve Jobs copied the iPad idea from him. Samsung was tackling this from the same angle as Microsoft did when Microsoft got away with copying Macintosh OS with Windows. But I guess the same trick doesn't work twice on Apple.
EDIT: According to our legal system, Samsung was wrong. But it's a very grey area. If people didn't copy each other, our society would still be in the dark ages. If we weren't allowed to copy ideas from Einstein and Edison and numerous others, where the hell would we be today? It's simple. We improve by building on the ideas of others; by copying their idea and adding something on top of it and by making incremental improvements.
Last edited by MDJase; 25th August 2012 at 15:39.
The lawsuit is a joke. Apple is now in the same Bully club as the music industry that ordered a raid on megaupload. It should be obvious to even an idiot that suing about a rectangular shape of an OS icon just borders on ridiculous. The sad part is that Apple didn't "invent" shit and LG and HP (or was it xerox) should have sued them long time ago.
Yes, Jobs quoted Picasso.
And with Gene Roddenberry, was he the one to use tablets in the movie A Space Odessy 2001? Coz Samsung tried to use that movie in court saying the idea of tablets was long out before Apple introduced the iPad. They did that to undermine Apple's iPad patents. I thought that was the most ridiculous shit ever. It's one thing to imagine something and not do anything about it and it's another to actually to make it into a reality. It's like saying "Oh I thought of the time machine first so that idea is my. If you ever spend trillions of dollars in R&D and actually build a time machine, you're not allow to patent it and everyone is allowed to reverse engineer your time machine and copy it!" The thing is, everyone has ideas, but few has the ability to turn ideas into reality.
I think Apple is right to sue Samsung coz they really did blatantly copy Apple without adding anything new. Other companies like HTC, Sony etc. all did something different. Samsung went as far as even copying Apple's style of advertising. Samsung even did a survey and found out that most customers actually mistook the Galaxy S phones and tablets for Apple's iPhone and iPad. You can bet your bottom dollar it was all very deliberate!
MDJase brings up a very important point: when it comes to copying, it's more a matter of degree than kind. You can copy competitors--up to a point. Get too close, and you'll lose a lawsuit.
This isn't a new or novel concept; you can copy Louis Vuitton handbags legally as long as you don't put the "LV" on it. There's a clear limit to how much you can copy, but when it comes to software the line is a bit more abstract. Samsung pretty obviously crossed the line in hardware as well as software. A foolish mistake.
and given what Samsung made last year and what they'll make this year, $1 bill is nothing....
Papa was a rodeo - Mama was a rock'n'roll band
I could play guitar and rope a steer before I learned to stand
Relative Evaluation report on S1 by the Samsung product engineering team. It's very blatant the way they compare every feature of the S1 and the iPhone, and basically conclude that the Galaxy needs to be improved to be more like the iPhone.
Living Colour: I ain't no glamour boy.
Well, now the copycats can start "INNOVATING" and start producing their own designs!
...or copy someone else... which they'll probably do.
This isn't just about rounded-corners. Only an idiot would think it is. Sure, that's the easiest thing to blame Apple for, but it's really about what Apple pretty much says it is -- Samsung blatantly ripping off their designs and riding on what Apple engineers and designers produce.
The rounded-rectangle thing may be stupid, but you can't ignore the fact that Samsung blatantly ripped off much more than just that. Of course a lot of fools would be mad at Apple for "hoarding" the designs they patented. After all, why didn't anyone else think of these things before Apple did?
As for Apple copying -- sure they do. But Apple EVOLVES what they copy, unlike Samsung, who just rip it straight off.
If you had a billion-dollar idea and I stole that from you... wouldn't you sue? Unless of course you were thinking of just handing over that idea to the whole world to copy for free eh? I'm pretty sure Apple and every other company would do just that -- after all, they have enough money already, right?!
I wish I could afford to make just a dollar a year.
Just Buy a Mac
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The creator of the internet did that didnt he?
This is it... The apocalypse.