Apple awarded $1bn in damages from Samsung in US court

 
Apple and Samsung phones Apple and Samsung make the bestselling smartphones in the market

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A US court has ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05bn (£665m) in damages for infringing intellectual property.

The jury decided several Samsung devices had infringed iPhone-maker Apple's software and design patents, but rejected counter-claims by Samsung.

Apple will now seek import bans on several of its rival's products. Samsung has said it will appeal.

Correspondents say the ruling is one of the most significant in a global battle over patents and intellectual property.

In recent weeks, a court in South Korea ruled that both technology firms had copied each other, while a British court threw out claims by the US company that Samsung had infringed its design rights.

But the year-long US case has involved some of the biggest damages claims, and is likely to shape the way patent licences are handled in the future.

'Monopoly' gibe

Samsung promised to appeal against the decision describing it as "a loss for the American consumer".

"It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices," the South Korean firm said.

The statement added that it was "unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners".

Product designer Geoff McCormick strips down an iPhone to explain patents

Apple, however, said it applauded the court "for finding Samsung's behaviour wilful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right".

Apple said it intended to seek sales injunctions at a follow-up hearing on 20 September

The two firms account for more than half of global smartphone and tablet computer sales.

The nine-person jury at the federal court in San Jose, California had to consider 700 questions about each side's claim that its rival had infringed its intellectual property.

It deliberated for less than three days before coming to a unanimous decision, rejecting all of Samsung's claims and upholding five of Apple's allegations, including:

  • Some of Samsung's handsets, including its Galaxy S 4G model, infringed Apple's design patents for the look of its iPhone including the system it uses to display text and icons
  • All the disputed Samsung devices had copied Apple's "bounce-back response", which makes lists jump back as if yanked by a rubber band
  • Several Samsung devices incorporated Apple's facility allowing users to zoom into text with a tap of a finger

Apple had wanted $2.5bn in damages. Samsung had sought $519m.

'Social cost'

Michael Gartenburg, research director at Gartner, told the BBC it could be a good thing for consumers in the long run because it would force Apple's competitors to innovate.

"Anyone who was even thinking about borrowing a technology or design from Apple will think twice about it now," he said.

Samsung Mesmerize, Galaxy Prevail and Infuse handsets The Mesmerize, Galaxy Prevail and Infuse were among the handsets found to have infringed Apple's patents

Other analysts point out that Apple could be the overall loser because the court case has helped boost Samsung's profile.

However, Christopher Marlett of investment bank MDB Capital Group said there was a "social cost" for Samsung.

"As a company, you don't want to be known as someone who steals from someone else," he said.

Apple remains one of the South Korean company's biggest customers buying computer chips and, reportedly, screens.

Sansung has already brought out a new generation of products that should avoid the patent issues.

But Apple said it still intended to seek sales injunctions at a follow-up hearing on 20 September.

It may also seek to use this ruling to block other devices powered by Google's Android software that it believes replicate elements of its user-interface, including current models by Samsung as well as other firms.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1021.

    I wonder if Steve Jobs was still around, whether this case would have been pursued in this manner.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1020.

    @1019 - Monsato sue farmers for "pirating" GM seeds - even if the cross pollination is natural.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1019.

    It's a shame, as this ruling only serves one company, and stifles competition in rival firms. But then again, it's no surprise this ruling coming out from the US for a US company.

    If the man that invented the wheel only knew what he could achieve with his invention, he'd literally run the world, rather than serve it.

    Thank goodness there's no patents on food, or we'd all starve!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1018.

    Beeb - every element, and I do mean every element, of the post #1003
    is included on other posts that remain.

    What's the problem?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1017.

    Less than 3 days to deliberate objectively on so much technical information - sounds like a flag waving, pre-determined decision to me. Apple have always been about quality, now it's grab all supported by a judge and a suspect jury. Sorry America but that's how it looks to an outsider.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1016.

    wow apple seemed to have upset adobe so no flash player and now samsung so parts needed watch apple price drop like a stone as people get fed up with there monopoly

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1015.

    @urafecal

    Lack of software patents in the 80s and 90s didn't stop what was arguably the most innovative part of computer history.

    In fact the competition that world had, with people able to mimic and even reverse engineer formats, most likely helped.

    We see how lack of competition stagnates development. Look at IE5 before Firefox came around and be thankful the web browser couldn't be patented

  • Comment number 1014.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1013.

    Another greedy control freak American company wants to rule the oworld. I'll never own anything from Apple it's all hype.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1012.

    Ultimately, the consumer decides on what tech product they buy.

    Unfortunately, when push comes to shove - all people really need is a home, energy, clean water, food, job, healthcare. I don't see Apple, as an American company, remotely interested in those basics when their products and profits are sent offshore...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1011.

    It is time EU to step in and put Apple monopoly in check.

    US courts\regulators extorting money from the foreign companies must be stopped!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1010.

    @1004 Well, what you refer to as "they just packaged them nicely" is innovation my friend. Let me quote the definition for you: "To innovate is to make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products" They never claimed to have invented a touch screen and related technologies, but boy did they manage to "package" that thing like no one before.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1009.

    Patents typically run for 20 years in America. I am a patent holder. I spent my time and money developing a product with the expectation of reward, which is uncertain.

    In Apple's case, R&D took several years, hundreds of milliions of dollars or risk capital. To say that the consumer will not benefit from decisions such as the above is to counter intuitive and irrational. Why innovate?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1008.

    A success for monopolies and extortionate pricing, a sad day for competition and the consumer.

    Take away the marketing and PR, and you're left with pure greed.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1007.

    I always buy Samsung. Quality is the main factor. Today the consumer is going to be the actual loser, not Samsung. How long would Apple survive with little innovation, mediocre sets and exorbitant prices? World consumes will definitely buy more and more Samsung sets in the future, they are the future. Steve Jobs did his bit, but iPhone is past sell by date.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1006.

    Apple didn't win the case for the rectangle design issue, they won it for patent infringement. I use both Apple and Samsung products so am unbiased on the situation but I know one thing, Apple innovate. Remember smartphones before the iPhone? They were dreadful, Apple married 2 technologies and created a new genre of design and feel and now everyone is using a phone based on this innovation. :-)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1005.

    "unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners"

    Yep, thats pretty much the way I feel about Patents.

    Just a device for the big players to keep everyone else out.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1004.

    @987 "Apple. The true innovator behind majority of the features that we see in smart phones today is because of Apple"

    Apple did not invent a single feature of modern smart phones. They just packaged them nicely and then charged a fortune for them. There has not been any innovation in the true sense at Apple for many years now, just marketing.

  • Comment number 1003.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1002.

    @983 Yes, we should all stand up to the US to defend thieving british bankers and plagiarist south korean designers.

 

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