The case centered on an array of patents related to both hardware and software design was meant to establish an important argument once and for all: Did Samsung copy Apple’s design when the company began to manufacture touchscreen devices? Did Apple have the right to own patents over apparently trivial aspects such as rows of icons? The repercussions today’s decision could literally and profoundly change the way personal gadgets will look in coming years.
Some of us have followed long string of lawsuits between Apple and Samsung, which does not seem to end. The question is: who stole from who? The jury’s decision comes to shock, although for many predictable: Samsung just lost almost everything. There is still the possibility of an appeal and the Korean manufacturer will most likely use it with little chance of success. Samsung will have to pay Apple a total of 1,049,343,540 billion dollars in damages. The amount is less than what Apple sought initially (2.5 billion dollars) but still represents a major victory for the manufacturer in Cupertino. Virtually every Samsung device in question was found to violate Apple patents. Exceptions are very, very few. To give you an idea, here’s what Samsung devices we are talking about:
Continuum, Droid Charge, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Ace, Prevail, S 4G, S II, Galaxy Tab, The Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Mesmerie, Nexus S 4G, Replenish și Vibrant
Captivate, continuum, droid charge, fascinate, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S II, i9100, Galaxy s 2 Tmobile, Tab, Tab 10.1, Gem, Indulge, Infuse, Nexus S 4G
Fascinate, Galaxy S, S 4G, S 2 ATT, S2 i9100, S2 Tmobile, S 2 Epic 4G touch, Skyrocket, Showcase, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize
What happens next? No doubt Samsung will seek an Appeal with little chance of success. Recent studies have shown that the rate of overturning district court decisions is only 10%. The Korean manufacturer is forced to remove all software functions that violate patents held by Apple. It will take a major change to TouchWiz, the custom UI for Android devices. The design of all future smartphones should be reassessed to have nothing in common with what Apple offers. Samsung should have more self-confidence.Apple won big but didn’t win everything. The amount Samsung has to pay represents only 0.0725 percent of the revenues in 2011. Although a billion dollars seems like a huge amount, it’s not enough to bankrupt Samsung. Following the decision, here is the Korean manufacturer’s statement:
“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.”