The apple vs. samsung verdict is in. A jury in a California court ruled today that Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion for patent infringement. Yes, that is a billion dollars. I've been hearing murmuring about the Apple-Samsung cases and wanted to know more. What is the case about, when did it start, and what does it mean for smartphones in the future?
It starts with design similarities (see the verdict below for details) between the Samsung Galaxy S phone and the Galaxy tablet with the Android operating system, and the Apple iPhone, iPad and iOS (operating system). For more than a year, lawsuits have been filed in nine countries between Samsung and Apple. Samsung has claimed that Apple stole their ideas and Apple has sued that Samsung infringed on their patents. Samsung has lost most of these court battles where judges ruled that Samsung had copied iPhone features and that those features should be licensed from Apple under fair terms to competitors.
Apple filed suit against Samsung in San Jose, California in April 2011 asking $2.5 billion and demanding that the court order Samsung to pull its smartphones and tablets from the US Market. Apple alleged that Samsung's popular mobile phones and tablets were direct knockoffs of Apple's iPhone and iPad.
The Jury's Apple vs. Samsung Verdict
The verdict is in for the California lawsuit. The jury decided that Samsung had copied the follow iPhone features and designs:
- The bounce back effect when a user gets to the bottom of a list and the screen bounces up.
- Scrolling, pinching to make items smaller, zooming,
- Tapping on an item to zoom in and enter the image.
- The design of the iPhone 3's screen and slot for the speaker.
- iPhone 3's face, rounded corners and bezel
- The arrangement of icons on the home screen
Apple also alleged that the rectangular shape of the Galaxy Tablet was a copy of the iPad, but the jury didn't agree; a small victory for Samsung.
Samsung's and Apple's reaction
The decision is a "loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices." "This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which already rejected many of Apple's claims." statements by Mira Jang, Samsung spokeswoman.
Certainly when Ms. Jang talked about the courts that have rejected Apple's claims, she must be referring to Samsung's recent win in the South Korean court, as the company had not been successful in the rest of the world, losing cases in nine countries.
Regarding the statement that this will be bad for consumers and innovation, Nilay Patel, who has a legal background and is now Managing Editor of the Verge website, addressed this comment in a live podcast Friday evening. He refuted the statement, saying that the verdiect will force Samsung to come up with new and different ideas and designs. Competition has always sparked innovation and will benefit consumers. Samsung will not be able to copy Apple's ideas, they will have to use the features as a starting point to come up with their own solutions.
On the other side, Apple spokeswoman, Katie Cotton said that the court was sending a "clear message that stealing isn't right." She said "We make these products to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy."
Nilay supported the jury's decision, citing that Apple explained to the court that the iPhone was a "revolution five years in the making, and that Samsung had taken just three months to copy it, without bearing any of the costs or risks involved."
What happens next?
Samsung will have to license these features from Apple, negotiating with Apple on how much to pay the company for every phone sold. It is said that Apple could ask as much as $30 per phone sold. Because technology and designs change so quickly, the physical design of the newer model Samsung phones have changed, so it is unlikely they will go back to the styles that were said to be Apple clones. Other features that consumers have become accustomed to—e.g., pinching, scrolling, zooming and the bounce back feature — will have to be licensed or changed.
The ruling opens the door for Apple to take other manufacturers to court. The concern is that Apple will continue to go after Android devices.
We can expect that this win will dissuade other companies from copying Apple. Let's hope that the ruling will be a catalyst for exciting future innovations. Apple isn't the only company that has brought us breakthrough designs and technology. Here's to brilliant, unique smartphone solutions in the future.
USA Today- South Korea Ruling