Apple v. Samsung: Verdict in, Samsung infringed 5 patents

Samsung owes over $1 billion in damages

The epic war between Apple and Samsung over fundamental patents relating to smartphones has just had a decisive battle reach a conclusion. The jury has returned in San Jose with a verdict in the Apple v. Samsung patent trial, ruling that Samsung infringed on 5 Apple patents and owes Apple over $1 billion in damages. The full list of the rulings is still being read out, but at this point Apple has not been ruled to have infringed any Samsung patents, and Samsung has not been awarded any damages.

The full impact of the ruling will take time to determine. Samsung could decide to appeal, or the two companies could reach some sort of cross-licensing agreement as the judge has been urging. Other court battles between the two companies continue worldwide, with both Apple and Samsung losing a split decision in South Korea today. The judge banned some products from both companies, and awarded limited damages to both. In total, the two companies have brought more than 50 lawsuits against each other in 10 countries on four continents.

The ultimate impact could be far-reaching, potentially reshaping the mobile market. Android devices could ultimately see costs increase if they have to pay some royalties to Apple, or major design changes could have to be made to avoid infringement. Apple already makes over 66 percent of all profits in the mobile industry, and this could put them in an even stronger position.

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Latest comments (27)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
And there goes competition in the US. We'll see how the appeals go, but Apple has basically been granted free reign to shred every single smartphone manufacturer in the world. They have been validated on a patent for a rectangular phone with rounded corners and a large screen. They have been validated on simple gestures like pinch to zoom that existed years before iOS. This could be, if they choose to enforce it (and they will), the end of genuine competition in the American smartphone and tablet market.

Time to move I think.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 4 years ago
Oh, hell no. This needs to be appealed and re-fought, pronto.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 4 years ago
Hey why don't we patent the word Start whilst we're at it... Oh wait.

I understand that companies need to increase their value by their patents but some of the stuff going on in that space is crazy. And frankly apple should get used to people nicking their ideas. It happens to every pioneer in every industry.
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Show all comments (27)
Steven Wemyss Senior QA Engineer, Avalanche Studios4 years ago
Having a Jury attempting to judge the details of this case from the start was pretty much insanity to begin with, the fact they took such a short time to come to a result shows how little actual debate there was on this. Utterly idiotic decision and just serves to highlight the stupidity of the patent system yet again.
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Francisco Javier QA Manager, Zed Group4 years ago
This is ridiculuos. Apple shouldn't owe these patents. They just worked over what was in the industry then. This is a real reason to hate the broken patents systems. And how in the world the patent lawsuit gets decided on the homecountry of Apple? This is like a terrorist attack from the USA to the rest of the world.

@Steven. "Having a Jury attempting to judge the details of this case from the start was pretty much insanity to begin". Absolutely. A non specialist jury from the home country of Apple... This is an insane act that could start a war.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Francisco Javier on 25th August 2012 4:09pm

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...and yet, the same trial in Korea reached a completely different conclusion, with far more sensible outcomes. Funny that. Must be nice having American jurors determine the outcome for what is effectively a American company vs Korean company trial.

This outcome actually makes me extremely angry, and if it makes *me* angry... I'm worried about the real world repercussions for sure. My dislike level for Apple is soaring.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
@ Michael if you think you're angry now, you should see the comments from the foreman, an owner of a patent for TiVo-style DVR 3 years after TiVo released who, for some SHOCKING reason, wasn't a fan of Samsung's strong prior art arguments. He also explicitly states that the ruling was intended to PUNISH Samsung, even though that's in direct violation of the law on patent rulings, and in violation of the jury's instructions to only consider damages equal to what could realistically be considered losses on Apple's side.

So yeah, so much for a fair and impartial jury.
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@nicholas - after reading that it definitely sounds like a mistrial.

However that said I agree with the verdict, Samsung phones are blatant copies of iPhones and that UI was not obvious or the next logical step.

If it was the iPhone wouldn't have been so revolutionary.

Also if Apple wins it wouldn't prevent innovation or competition but increase it. Microsoft didn't need to copy the iPhone UI after all.
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Sam Brown Programmer, Cool Games Ltd.4 years ago
Remind me again, how many of the components of Apple's hardware come from Samsung? I sense some overheating RAM and a few unresponsive touchscreens in the iPhone5's future... ^_^

EDIT: Whoa, they make more of it than I thought:

Despite what that article says, I can't believe there won't be some pressure applied from this direction. It might be Samsung's last resort, yes, but the US case seems to have gone as badly for them as it could have done so they might be out of options.

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 27th August 2012 10:30am

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Subhas Pradhan Studying PhD Biochemical Engineering, University College London4 years ago
The verdict is just plain ridiculous. Patents are meant to be useful, new and non-obvious. Whilst the patents are for useful gestures and designs, I don't see how they're either new or non-obvious; they shouldn't have been granted. This is going to stifle creativity as all phone manufacturers are going to self-limit their designs based on their rivals most trivial of patents.
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 4 years ago
Having a Jury attempting to judge the details of this case from the start was pretty much insanity to begin with, the fact they took such a short time to come to a result shows how little actual debate there was on this.
What do you want to debate? Verdict are based on laws, not on debates. At least I hope it is.

By the way, this verdict is not so bad for Samsung. This trial revealed that Samsung is the same as Apple, but cheaper. So if you like iPhones for what they are, you may consider buying a galaxy s3. At the moment, we don't know yet if Samsung's phones are going to be out of the market, but to me, it could be a good publicity for Samsung if they play the game this way.

About the hardware components, Samsung is not going to do anything. Apple orders are wothing the money, so if they don't want to loose such revenues, they will do the job just fine. This is business, not a love story...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Hugo Dubs on 27th August 2012 2:17pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
@ John There are definitely some areas that Apple had a great case in which I think they should have been awarded damages and perhaps forced Samsung to make some changes, especially for example on icons that are almost stupidly similar (the phone icon, for example).

That said, do you really believe Apple should have exclusive rights to a rectangular phone with rounded corners, edge-to-edge glass, and pinch or double tap to zoom (both of which were shown to clearly have existed on touch panels before the iPhone)? Keep in mind that this ruling has legitimized ALL of those very real and very disturbing patents.

@ Hugo I don't believe you understand this case particularly well. First of all, a Galaxy S3 is no cheaper than an iPhone, and indeed Samsung sells a lot of top-end phones (they actually sell more phones than Apple already, hence them becoming a target). Second, Apple has already said they intend to seek injunctions against all Samsung devices in the US, and after winning the trial they will almost surely be granted them. Third, even if they aren't granted them against every product, Samsung will be ordered to remove essential smartphone actions like the ability to pinch to zoom or double-tap to zoom.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 27th August 2012 5:54pm

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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises4 years ago
Apple's double tap to zoom will be worthless soon enough, I'm just waiting for my "one tap zoom" patent to be approved.
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Tin Katavic Studying MSc-Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee4 years ago
I have mixed feeling about this. On the one hand I agree that the whole patent war is crazy. But on the other hand I can help but notice one thing. Look for an image of samsung (and other phones) before and after iPhone. And they look like clones. To be honest even though I have an iPhone, at a glance I wouldnt see a difference between it and another smart phone. Similar thing happened with tablets.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tin Katavic on 27th August 2012 7:10pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
@ Tin There are only so many ways to make a rectangular phone with a large screen, but if you even so much as pick up a high-end Android phone you'd notice its screens are 1" or more larger than an iPhone, it's half the thickness, and the operating system is only similar at the most superficial levels.

You can't really tell me you believe these devices are similar enough to confuse customers... and if there are customers who are confused by this, those customers are so ignorant that they're going to be confused by ANY purchase decision.
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There goes common sense and fair trial too.

Way to go judge. I hope you enjoy your millions and free lifetime supply of iBling.
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Tin Katavic Studying MSc-Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee4 years ago
@Nicholas I agree that there is a limit on the ways you can make a touch screen phone. And please dont think I am advocating that apple should have monopoly on touch screen phones. But you have to agree that to a Joe Average it looks like after iPhone everyone suddenly decided that it is the way to go. And that was probably what the jury belived.

After all there is a limited way of how you can make an mp3 player and yet they dont look so much like iPods.

I do agree with you that the idea of a patent on a patent for a rectangular phone with rounded corners and a large screen is borderline insane. Just saying I can see why the jury went that way.
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Dave Wolfe Game Developer, Cosmic Games4 years ago
@John Owens - *Some* of Samsungs phones are blatant copies, (Galaxy Ace for example), but the UI really doesn't resemble the iPhone all that much. And lets not forget that the iPhone was not the first phone to have a UI that is a grid of icons (see LG Prada for example) and there have been many other touch devices that had similar UI. And yes, the iPhone UI was an obvious next step considering it is based on the UI found on virtually every desktop computer ( a grid of icons and folders).

The iPhone was revolutionary because it was the first phone that had a good web browser, and later the much bigger revolution was when they added the AppStore it made it so much easier for small developers to create and sell mobile apps; previously that was tightly controlled by the carrier. They did make a slick UI and were the fist (AFAIK) to implement pinch to zoom, but they did not invent pinch to zoom (or bounce-back) and it is ridiculous that prior art didn't invalidate those patents. However it's not surprising given that the foreman has a bullshit patent of his own.

And it does prevent innovation and competition. If the ruling stands, it won't allow other companies to iterate and improve upon these concepts without being extorted by Apple, assuming Apple even grants a license in the first place. And it won't allow other smartphone companies to effectively compete because the now-standard way of interacting with the phone is owned by Apple. Other large companies may be able to do some patent cross-licensing, but smaller companies or startups are screwed.

To steal an analogy someone else made, imagine if the in the early days of the automobile one company patented the steering wheel and gas/brake pedals. Other car manufacturers can "innovate" by perhaps patenting a joystick and throttle, and other company patents some lever system. There's a limited number of ways in which to control the car, so eventually all realistic methods are patented. Obviously the steering wheel system is best, and lets say a few other companies manage to get some cross licensing deal because they own patents on the gearbox or transaxle. What happens when Toyota or Honda come along and try to make better quality cars? They can't because they were late to the game and don't have any patents they can use to get a good deal, and the existing patent holders don't want the competition. Now we're all stuck with two or three car manufacturers who keep churning out the same crappy cars because they have no real competition.
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Dave Wolfe Game Developer, Cosmic Games4 years ago
@Tin - That image doesn't show the designs Samsung was working on prior to the release of the iPhone (which the judge excluded from the trial) Here are some of the designs:
LG brought the Prada to market before the iPhone and they even considered suing Apple over the similarities.
And despite all the BS about Android originally being a BlackBerry rip off, Google was also working on touch screen phones prior to the iPhone reveal. Apple just happened to be early to market during a time when several major phone manufacturers were making the move to touch screens.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
@ Dave And far more relevant to this trial is the Samsung F700, which was actually RELEASED before the iPhone, and made by Samsung.... so not even something in prototype stages, that shows that at the same time the company in question in this lawsuit was already working toward the same end of large, capacitive touchscreens and icon-based operating systems.
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Dave Wolfe Game Developer, Cosmic Games4 years ago
@Tom - predates the Newton by about 45 years, and about as relevant to the lawsuit :)
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 4 years ago
The end of creativity as we know it...
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Keldon Alleyne Developer, leader, writer, Avasopht Ltd4 years ago
We need an apple-ocalypse ;-)
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@dave - I couldn't say either way for sure.

I've read a few comments from different people that they're actually very specific and not general catch all patents that you seem to be implying but I don't know the detail.

I just see Samsung phones as ripoffs so I have no sympathy for them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Owens on 28th August 2012 4:53pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd4 years ago
@ John You ought to look at some of those phones linked above... a very similar UI to iOS was already being worked on by Samsung, LG, and Google (independently at the time, before former two adopted Android). It was a natural evolution, and no matter how much you say it wasn't you can't change the evidence of phones that predate the iPhone and look very similar. Indeed LG actually considered suing the iPhone, as they believed it copied the Prada, but ultimately took the high ground... something Apple could learn from.
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Paul Gheran Scrum Master 4 years ago
+1 Michael - So racially biased. I hope the Korean system takes note and evens the score. Not escalates, cause that's stupid too, but just evens it out.
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