Apple Vs. Samsung Verdict: What It Means

Apple vs Samsung

With the verdit in the Apple vs Samsung landmark trial out, the next step would be a preliminary hearing on injunctions, as the jury has found that many of Samsung’s phones infringe on Apple patents, which could ultimately lead to sales ban in the U.S.

Apple has to file its request for injunction by August 27th and Samsung will have two weeks to respond to it, with the actual hearing on September 20th.

Meanwhile, Samsung will ask Judge Koh to throw out the verdict and if that doesn’t happen then it will take the matter to the appeals court. Samsung has already made that clear in its statement:

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.

We’ve also started getting some reactions to the verdict. Nilay Patel of The Verge has this to say about the long term consequences of the verdict on the Android based smartphones:

In the long term, we’re sure to see lots of UI behaviors change across Android — most companies have already moved away from the bounceback scrolling behavior protected by the Apple patent in this case, and we’re sure to see tap-to-zoom and multitouch scrolling behavior affected on new devices as well. We’re also sure to see new handsets adopt highly differentiated designs, as Apple has proven both its design patent and trade dress claims are strong enough to persuade a jury. That’s already happening, and it’s a good thing; Samsung’s the only phone maker Apple has sued for copying the iPhone’s design, and its more recent devices like the Galaxy S III already have unique designs. More differentiation in the market is ultimately good for consumers.

Robert Barr, executive director of the Center for Law and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley who spoke to the New York Times seems to agree. He believes that it’s going to make it very difficult for other companies not just Samsung to copy Apple’s products.

Each of the patents cover a particular feature of the iPhone and the iPad. You can still make a smartphone, like the Microsoft Windows phone made by Nokia. It has a different look than the iPhone, different appearance and different features. That would be an example that is unaffected by this. The important thing here is that Apple’s patents were upheld as valid. Other companies are going to have to avoid the patents or license them. Even though this jury upheld them, other companies still get a shot. They can come in with new evidence and attack them. You have to have new reasons and new evidence.

The amount of damages is extraordinary. A billion dollars in damages is extra. It’s one of the biggest patent verdicts ever. That’s a huge amount of damages. And the judge has to now decide whether to increase that for the wilfulness. And the judge could increase that as much as triple. The judge has to still decide if there will be an injunction against future sales or a recall of product.

Even though people can come back and attack them, they are going to need new evidence and it’s going to be difficult.

Al Sabawi – co-founder of software company – Quantopix and a former IBM executive was even more direct:

To all the lazy copycats out there who think cutting and pasting is an intellectual achievement, that hard work, sweat and tears don’t matter, that ideas, designs, and innovations can be stolen willy-nilly with no consequences: This is to you.

While $1 billion may seem like pocket change for Apple with over $100 billion in cash, the verdict has far reaching consequences as it serves as a warning to Apple’s rivals that they should stop copying their products, not just the current lineup of Apple products but also future products. As Jim Dalrymple of The Loop points out  that has been Apple’s motivation for suing Samsung.

So what does it mean to consumers? In the short term, it could mean that Android smartphones and tablets may start to cost more as Apple’s rivals are likely to try to license the company’s patents. But let’s hope that in the long term it forces Apple’s competitors to focus on being more innovative and bringing us distinct products.

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