News by Andrew Kameka on Saturday August 25, 2012.
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The Apple v. Samsung trial concluded yesterday with the jury ruling that Samsung infringed on Apple's patents and trade dress in several phones. The jury awarded Apple nearly $1.05 billion in damages, and put an end to the biggest legal battle between Apple and Samsung. Well, perhaps "end" isn't an appropriate word.
Apple and Samsung are in complicated legal battles in nine different countries, but the recent trial in the U.S. was the most significant because of the scale of damages, devices, and patents at issue. Apple accused Samsung of infringing on its intellectual property in several devices, and the jury mostly agreed with Apple's claims; however, the jury verdict will not be the final word on this case.
Samsung says that it will appeal the decision, which had a few inconsistencies. The jury mistakenly awarded Apple $1.51 billion dollars because it included damages for Samsung devices that the jury ruled did not infringe on Apple's intellectual property. Damages were recalculated once attorneys for Samsung pointed out the error.
Samsung then issued the following statement after the verdict was read:
"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."
Reuters reports that analysts believe it could take many years before Apple and Samsung settle the matter. There are ongoing or upcoming trials in multiple courts, and the losing side in each case may have several options to appeal rulings and verdicts. Samsung is set to appeal the U.S. verdict because Judge Lucy Koh excluded arguments for prior art that it believes might have convinced a jury that Apple's patents were invalid.
Groklaw notes that Apple has already asked for an injunction to block Samsung's products found to infringe on Apple's patents; however, that's not what's most important here. The products found to have infringed on Apple's patents are phones and tablets that are not widely sold by retailers anymore. Apple could cause more damage to Samsung by arguing that Samsung's newer products, like the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 10.1, also infringe, and ask the court to block the sale of those devices in the U.S. Apple might not be able to instantly ban Samsung's newer products, but it could trigger a procedure that expedites the process. The two parties will be back in court for a hearing on the matter September 20.
For now, Apple is reveling in its victory. AllThingsD reports that following the verdict, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent the following memo to employees:
Today was an important day for Apple and for innovators everywhere.
Many of you have been closely following the trial against Samsung in San Jose for the past few weeks. We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work. For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It's about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the jury who invested their time in listening to our story. We were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung's copying went far deeper than we knew.
The jury has now spoken. We applaud them for finding Samsung's behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right. I am very proud of the work that each of you do. Today, values have won and I hope the whole world listens.
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.