Apple Wins Big in Patent Lawsuit Against Samsung
It has been more than a year since Apple filed the lawsuit against Samsung and finally, it seems that it has come to a closure. The jury reached a verdict today and ruled that Samsung had infringed on Apple's patents. Apple was awarded at least US$1.049 billion in damages and was cleared of any infringement on Samsung's standards-essential or utility patents. Here's a quick look at some of the patents that Samsung was found to have infringed:
- Patent '381 - "bounce back" scrolling functionality
- Patent '915 - one finger to scroll, two to pinch and zoom navigation
- Patent '163 - tap to zoom
Samsung initially had to pay a much larger sum of US$1.051 billion, but pointed out that there was a mistake. The jury awarded money to Apple for devices that had not infringed on the patents. After a brief moment of reconsideration, the figure was revised to US$1.049 billion.
Reactions to the ruling were mixed. Samsung commented that it was "a loss for the American consumer". The company strongly believes in giving choices to consumers and will continue to do so.
Samsung - 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.
Apple, on the other hand, asserts that its lawsuits were "much more than patents or money." Apple CEO Tim Cook apparently sent an internal memo to his employees on the company's victory.
Apple - "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."
Apple CEO Tim Cook - "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."
Several Microsoft employees also reacted to the ruling by showering praises for the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft's Bill Cox, senior director of Windows Phone marketing communications tweeted that "Windows Phone is looking gooooood right now." Microsoft's Frank Shaw, head of corporate communications, stated in his tweet that he finds the Windows Phone user interface fresh, unique and different.
The legal battle is not over yet. Today's verdict sets the momentum for injunctions against Samsung devices. Apple has to file its request by 27th August, and thereafter Samsung has to respond within two weeks. A preliminary hearing is set on 20th September.
Scoring a major victory over the biggest phone maker (Samsung) will definitely give Apple more confidence to go after the smaller Android vendors. And like what the wise, old Jedi Master Yoda once said, the Clone War has just begun.