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

    Comment number 741.

    Andi you better get off the Internet as well, because guess what, it's a US product.

    Oh and don't even think about touching computers or cars. They all have USA goods inside. Stay home and take up gardening.

  • rate this

    Comment number 740.

    In terms of technology and design, there are only so many ways of doing a thing. Roll in 'human-computer interaction' (HCI) and event driven programming techniques as well, and most devices will have certain inherent simularities... yet ask any trendy young thing and they can differentiate instantly between an iPhone and a Samsung handset!

  • rate this

    Comment number 739.

    Definition of Hypocrisy Part One (for techpm)

    "Picasso said 'good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless in stealing great ideas" Steve Jobs, 1996

    "I'm going to destroy Android because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." Steve Jobs 2010

    See, from about 7:30 for those in a hurry

  • rate this

    Comment number 738.

    To all those bashing Apple, get a life. They have never had a monopoly, quite the contrary, for many years they looked like fading away. They have developed products that have revolutionised the market, and this revolution could not have happened without the support of the public.

    Lets not forget, not so long ago Samsung were bigger than Apple, so please, Samsung are no underdogs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 737.

    Apple pursued Samsung because they chose not to sign an earlier agreement allowing them to use patented features in exchange for a levy of something like $40 on each handset built. Apple simply want to set the rules of the smartphone market, and that's not on.

    I love Apple's philosophy, and I own 4 of their products, but I cannot bring myself to condone this warmongering of which they are a part.

  • rate this

    Comment number 736.

    We all laugh at the Chinese when they rule the Chinese-made BWM 5X looks nothing like the BMW X5, but it seems the US courts are just as bad.
    Wonder if our courts could claim that the current generation iPad is a clear rip-off of the ZX Spectrum...

  • rate this

    Comment number 735.

    This is not just about Apple: Apple employees weren't in the jury. This is about the USA, which makes most of its huge wealth by intellectual property.

    Intellectual property is getting a few hundred people to do some work, and getting paid for it billions of times.

    My reaction is this: I don't buy any USA goods. While they don't play fair, they don't play with me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 734.

    @664 The early android phone has exactly the same shape as the iphone. Just has a physical keypad instead of a touchscreen. The logical progression when adding the touchscreen is to remove the keyboard and extend the screen down.
    Apple took most of their designs for their early products from braun:

  • rate this

    Comment number 733.

    Who cares!? The "smarter" they get they more they crash. Bring back my 3210!

  • rate this

    Comment number 732.

    It is completely impossible to design innovative electronic products while monitoring patents from other companies and countries. There are just too many of them and they are all open to interpretation.

    Usually companies advise their designers to ignore patents while designing new products. Otherwise each designer would need a full legal team working for them. It just wouldn't be viable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 731.

    >I don't think this has ever been about Apple versus Samsung. This has >always been about America versus the rest of the world

    Samsung's Galaxy phones run Android from Google who are a US company therefore your argument makes no sense.

    Google's Eric Schmidt was on the Apple board and promised not to produce a Google phone, he was privy to secret iPhone information. This is what is is about!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 730.

    This is not a win for Apple, it is a loss for the consumer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 729.

    "718.Lionel Mandrake

    Apple are indeed the new Microsoft, reaching for their lawyers at the least provocation. Have the remaining Beatles and EMI sued them for stealing the company name?"

    There has long-standing agreement acknowledging the separation between Apple computers and the Apple record label.

  • rate this

    Comment number 728.

    anon1234: The courts weren't "more forgiving", Apple settled with Creative for 100 million over a single feature: menu structure.

    Get your facts right. There's too much bs on the Internet already.

  • rate this

    Comment number 727.

    I am certain Samsung can make this a very long and painful fight for Apple over the next few years. The only people to profit will be the lawyers, while everyone else loses choice. Another device will eventually come along and Apple will go the same way as Nokia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 726.

    The result of this case is counter productive...

    One of the big problems for consumers is the constant change in user interfaces, requiring a new learning curve for each new version of a product, well known on MS Windows and others.

    If the same thing happened on cars we'd all have to sit a driving test for each new model, not very smart!

    Users need a familiar set of controls across platforms

  • rate this

    Comment number 725.

    651 james
    I have not read all of the contributions but it seems to me that many on here are arguing for a Free Market. I thought that those on the Right normally pushed for a Free Market.
    Everyone is free to contribute t this site, so I cannot see that there is a political bias.

  • rate this

    Comment number 724.

    does this mean that I can only phone people and talk to them if I have an apple Alexander Graham Bells relatives must be really anoyed

  • rate this

    Comment number 723.

    Apple awarded $1bn in damages against Samsung. A drop in the ocean for both companies.

    Perhaps Apple could use that money for the foundations of an Apple hospital in America? An apple day, as they say ...

  • rate this

    Comment number 722.

    surprise, surprise a US court finds in favour of Apple


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