Apple has won a landslide victory in its intellectual property lawsuit case with Samsung, with the South Korean vendor ordered to pay US$1.05 billion in damages.
In less than three days the nine-person jury at the federal court in San Jose, California, came to its unanimous decision, asserting that most of Apple’s claims against Samsung were valid. The jury rejected Samsung's claims that several of its patents had been breached and awarded it no damages (against its original claim of US$519 million).
Apple had initially claimed a total of US$2.5 billion in damages, and was successful in several areas: Samsung’s Mesmerize, Galaxy Prevail and Infuse were among the handsets found to have infringed Apple's patents, while the jury ruled that some of Samsung's handsets, including its Galaxy S 4G model, had infringed Apple's design patents for the look of its iPhone including the system it uses to display text and icons. It also found that all the disputed Samsung devices had copied the bounce-back response in the iOS system's user interface, without paying a licence. Another infringement involved use of Apple's tap-to-zoom feature.
However, the jury dismissed the allegation that the South Korean firm's tablets had infringed the rectangular design used for Apple's iPad. And Apple did not convince the jury its iPad design patent had been infringed.
Apple said it applauded the court "for finding Samsung's behaviour wilful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right."
Samsung described the verdict as "a loss for the American consumer… It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices.”
This is unlikely to mark the end of the high-profile saga. "We will move immediately to file post-verdict motions to overturn this decision in this court and if we are not successful, we will appeal this decision to the Court of Appeals," a statement from Samsung said. Although the offending Samsung models have since been replaced by updates, Apple said it still intended to seek sales injunctions at a follow-up hearing on 20 September.
For Samsung, it is at least able to bear the US$1.05 billion in damages – in the second quarter of this year alone its operating profit was US$5.86 billion – but it is the damage to its reputation that will hurt it the most. Ironically, Apple remains one of the South Korean vendor’s biggest customers, with Samsung supplying computer chips and iPhone screens.
Analysts claim Apple may also now go after rivals HTC and Motorola with renewed energy.