Apple Inc. filed its patent infringement lawsuit in April 2011 and engaged legions of the country’s highest-paid patent lawyers to demand $2.5 billion from its top smartphone competitor. Samsung Electronics Co. fired back with its own lawsuit seeking $399 million.
The verdict, however, belonged exclusively to Apple, as the jury rejected all Samsung’s claims against Apple. Jurors also decided against some of Apple’s claims involving the two dozen Samsung devices at issue, declining to award the full $2.5 billion Apple demanded.
However, the jury found that several Samsung products illegally used such Apple creations as the “bounce-back” feature when a user scrolls to an end image, and the ability to zoom text with a tap of a finger.
Apple lawyer plans to formally demand Samsung pull its most popular cellphones and computer tablets from the U.S. market. They also can ask the judge to triple the damages to $3 billion. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will decide those issues along with Samsung’s demand she overturn the jury’s verdict in several weeks.
The outcome of the case is likely to have ripple effects in the smartphone market. After seeing Samsung’s legal defeat, other device makers relying on Android may become more reluctant to use the software and risk getting dragged into court.
“Some of these device makers might end up saying, `We love Android, but we really don’t want to fight with Apple anymore,” said Christopher Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group, an investment bank specializing in intellectual property.
ISI Group analyst also viewed the verdict as a blow to Android, as much as Samsung.
During closing arguments at the trial, Apple attorney Harold McElhinny claimed Samsung was having a “crisis of design” after the 2007 launch of the iPhone, and executives with the South Korean company were determined to illegally cash in on the success of the revolutionary device.
Samsung’s lawyers countered that it was legally giving consumers what they want: smartphones with big screens. They said Samsung didn’t violate any of Apple’s patents and further alleged innovations claimed by Apple were actually created by other companies.
Samsung, headquartered in Seoul, responded to the verdict, saying in a statement it was “unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners.”
“I don’t know if $1 billion is hugely significant to Apple or Samsung,” Marlett said. “But there is a social cost here. As a company, you don’t want to be known as someone who steals from someone else. I am sure Samsung wants to be known as an innovator, especially since a lot of Asian companies have become known for copying the designs of innovators.”