Verdict in Samsung 'Willfully' Infringed Apple Patents, Jury Awards $1.05B in Damages to Apple

Verdict in Samsung ‘Willfully' Infringed Apple Patents, Jury Awards $1.05B in Damages to Apple; Issued Preliminary Injunctions Against Nexus Phone, Galaxy 10.1

The long Patent infringment battle between Samsung and Apple -- where both the companies accused each other of infringing patents, came to an end with the verdict reaching in the Apple-Samsung US federal patent lawsuity on Friday August 24, -- "Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. infringed on multiple Apple Inc. patents."

In the lawsuit the Cupertino company insisted, cheated by copying the 2007 release iPhone and later the iPad, mimicking the designs, and urged the jury to award at least $2.5 billion in damages for selling tens of millions of what were branded "accused" smartphones and tablets.

The judge Lucy Koh in a 20-page verdict ruled that "all seven patents that Apple presented at the center of its case were valid and that the Samsung willfully infringed on five of them."

The judge Koh, last week also told the CEO's of both the compaines to talk over the phone to settle the dispute, which didn't reach anywhere --promting the jury awarding Apple $1.049 billion in damages, with potentially a lot bigger award coming as the Judge Koh could award up to triple damages for the willful infringements.

"The jury in particular found Samsung's Fascinate, Epic 4G and Galaxy S II smartphones were rogue products that warranted more than $100 million each in damages for copying the iPhone, although the panel spared Samsung much punishment for infringing the iPad."

While, Google was not 'directly' involved in the case, but the suit was aimed at Google's open source Android mobile operating system, will clearly feel an impact through its hardware-making partner.

"While Google is not involved in this case, Apple was clearly going after Android all along, said Robert P. Merges, professor of law and technology at University of California Berkeley School of Law. If other handset makers using Android fear that Apple will take them on and win, might they shy away from Android? "There are a lot more players in the Android world who could be involved in the future in litigation," he said. "And it's going to raise the cost of everyone in the Android system if the damages stick.""

Shifting to a less popular software system, like Windows or even Research in Motion's operating system expected to arrive next year, gives Apple an advantage in the marketplace. "It's not good news for Google," Mr. Merges said. "Apple's real target is the Android ecosystem, the Android world, everything having to do with Androids. That's really what they are targeting here," posted New York Times quoting a University of California law professor on what the decision means for Android.

Other Android device makers may become more cautious and the similarities found might be the first things to change.

In particular, "Companies in the future are going to consider how much they want their product to look and feel like their competitors' products in terms of shape, size, similiarity of icons" said Robert W. Dickerson Jr., head of the West Coast intellectual property practice for Dickstein Shapiro, a patent law firm.

Microsoft and Nokia, should have an easier time of it -- "as the user interface, icons and other features that users see and touch -- on the Nokia Windows phones look distinctly different from the iPhone," said Robert Barr, executive director of the University of California Berkeley's Center for Law and Technology.

Apple attorney Michael Jacobs told the U.S. District Judge Koh that the company would move to block the sale of many of the products in the United States within seven days. Judge Koh already has issued preliminary injunctions against the Nexus phone and Galaxy 10.1 tablet.

Apple has yet to take on Samsung's most recent smartphone, the Galaxy S III, but indicated in previous hearings that it considers that device a byproduct of previous design copying.

Apple vs. Samsung Patent Lawsuit Products Chart

Apple's PR head, Katie Cotton, issued the statement saying, "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."

AllThingsD quoted Samsung's PR team as saying,

"Today's verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer," Samsung said in a statement. "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's CEO Tim Cook in a memo sent to employees said,

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.


Update 08/27: Samsung issued an internal memo to its staff that reflects company's position regarding the verdict:

"We initially proposed to negotiate with Apple instead of going to court, as they had been one of our most important customers. However, Apple pressed on with a lawsuit, and we have had little choice but to counter-sue, so that we can protect our company.

Certainly, we are very disappointed by the verdict at the US District Court for the Northern District of California (NDCA), and it is regrettable that the verdict has caused concern amongst our employees, as well as our loyal customers.

However, the judge's final ruling remains, along with a number of other procedures. We will continue to do our utmost until our arguments have been accepted.

The NDCA verdict starkly contrasts decisions made by courts in a number of other countries, such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and Korea, which have previously ruled that we did not copy Apple's designs. These courts also recognized our arguments concerning our standards patents.

History has shown there has yet to be a company that has won the hearts and minds of consumers and achieved continuous growth, when its primary means to competition has been the outright abuse of patent law, not the pursuit of innovation.

We trust that the consumers and the market will side with those who prioritize innovation over litigation, and we will prove this beyond doubt," Samsung said.

[Source: NYT, Mercury News]