Although this particular chapter in the Apple vs. Samsung battle has come to an end with a nine person jury ruling in the majority of the instances that were brought before them, that Samsung were indeed guilty of infringing on patents that were owned by Apple Inc. The case was rather peculiar in the fact that until the jury actually came out of deliberation and announced their decisions, nobody could really tell which way the outcome was going to sway, but with Samsung now liable for $1.05 billion in damages to Apple, there is no longer a doubt.
This chapter has been brought to a end, but for those who believe it brings an end to the patent wars, then you really need to think again. The process has been long, scrappy, involved huge legal costs and has created extreme amounts of bad blood in an otherwise thriving industry, but it has also proven that there are victories to be had and money to be won by going down this route. Naturally disappointed with the ruling, Samsung have made an official response to the verdict, and as you might expect they fear for the future of the smartphone industry:
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.
The public release also makes reference to the fact that the company feels we are in for a torrid time going forward when patent law can be manipulated in such a way that a monopoly can be clutched onto when talking about what they call “rectangles with rounded corners”, obviously making reference to the fact that they were judged to have copied Apple’s rounded rectangle app icons. It’s hard not to have sympathy for Samsung, although while it is true that consumers could suffer in the short-term, and the Korean giants have a whopping compensation bill to pay, the fact remains that a legal system consisting of nine impartial jurors has found the company guilty of copying and infringing on Apple’s innovation. They knowingly did the wrong and the punishment is fitting.
Apple on the other hand couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the San Jose based trial, as it not only proves to the world that they have indeed been wronged by Samsung, it also nets them a cool $1.05 billion, as well as seeing their own stock price rise $11.73 to $674.95 per share. Apple CEO Tim Cook, who celebrates a year in the job with the fantastic victory, has taken the time to send his own memo to employees of the company telling them that the result represented “an important day for Apple and innovators everywhere“. The memo also describes the legal action against Samsung as reluctant, and that it was always about more than patents and finances for them:
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.
Passionate stuff indeed. It’s hard to argue with him at this point, and there are a lot of people who do believe that Apple products like the iPhone and iPad are the best around in their market. Officially, the winning company has made a much less passionate and more diplomatic statement, instead choosing to thank the jury involved and the legal system for finally allowing the company to tell their story and present the “mountain of evidence” that they had against the Korean company. Apple may have won the largest patent battle yet, but is the war just beginning?