Jury Rules Samsung Violated Apple Patents


On Friday Apple won their landmark patent dispute against Samsung as the nine-person jury voted overwhelmingly in their favour. These patents include a series of smartphone and tablet features including the rounded rectangle shape.

The jury voted that Samsung had clearly infringed on these patents when it copied the design elements for their own products and damages worth $1.05 billion were awarded, however this was less than half of the $2.5 billion that Apple were seeking.

While that amount of money is enough to make anyone pale, the impact on Samsung’s business practices could prove to be the biggest issue. Samsung currently controls a large portion of the smartphone and tablet markets and while the sale of their items haven’t been affected just yet, Apple are seeking an injunction against the sales of Samsung products found to infringe on its patents which would prove more costly in the long run – and not just for them.

In a statement released after the ruling Samsung said, “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.”

In a way, Samsung are correct about the impact it would have on the consumer. This ruling could lead to higher licensing fees for companies to use Apple’s proprietary technology which could filter down and raise consumer prices.

Most Important of Patent Wars

This case was considered by many analysts to be the most important in the current patent wars being waged among technology companies in Britain, Germany and Australia.

While Samsung managed to win their own case against Apple in a South Korean case, the fight in the federal court in San Jose proved more difficult for them as Apple submitted reams of evidence including internal Samsung communications in which executives were expressing concerns over the design advancements of the iPhone.

The impact of the ruling will now be felt by other companies who will be wary of their own innovations being too close to the look and feel of Apple’s products. One of those companies could be Google whose own Android operating system adopted by Samsung and other manufacturers was labelled by Steve Jobs as “grand theft”.

“I’m going to destroy Android because it’s a stolen product,” Jobs was quoted as saying in the biography published after his death by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs.

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