Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Apple Inc. has been vindicated in its unprecedented patent case against rival Samsung. The nine-member jury at the San Jose Federal court ruled for Apple today in the case that began in April 2011. The landmark case revolved around Samsung's copying of Apple's design and functionality in its iPhone and iPad devices. Apple was not found guilty of any of the instances of patent infringement charged by Samsung.
After days of deliberation, the Jury decided in Apple's favour earlier today and as a result ordered that Samsung pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages after finding Samsung was guilty of "willful" violations of a number of Apple's patents in the creation of its own mobile products. The news comes at a milestone date for Apple and its CEO Tim Cook.
It was a year ago today that Steve Jobs officially resigned as Apple's CEO and passed the leadership of the Apple Inc. to Tim Cook. The date is certain to now hold some relevance to Apple, which just last week was acknowledged as the most valuable company of all time with a market cap of $ 620 billion.
The turning point of the case was likely the presentation of an internal 132-page document written in 2010 by Samsung's engineers. That document showed a blatant feature-by-feature comparison of theiPhone and Samsung's competing models and recommending how Samsung should make their devices more like Apple's.
The basic argument that Apple presented in the Samsung case is that before the iPhone's launch in 2007, Samsung's products looked very different and lacked the multi-touch and large screen functionality as well as the icon-driven operating system caused confusion in the market and allowed Samsung to profit from Apple's design and engineering.
The Apple vs. Samsung case is part of a larger series of patent cases in the highly competitive and extremely profitable mobile industry.
The real showdown here is between Apple and Google for patents and designs pertaining to the mobile operating systems that run smartphones and tablets.
This same argument can now be used by Apple against LG, Motorola, HTC and any other handset maker that has released smartphones based on Google's Android OS.
The result of this case against Samsung, one of Apple's biggest rivals and a major Google hardware partner could set the precedent for other patent and trade dress related cases.
In a statement released after the verdict, Apple stated that, "the lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.”
Samsung's reaction to the verdict was far less cordial, “Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer,” Samsung said . “It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices."
An appeal from Samsung is all but guaranteed, so this saga will continue. “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 said in a report from All Things D.
Apple is currently being sued by Motorola Mobility for mobile patent infringement. Motorola was purchased by Google earlier this year and many analysts believe that Google was after that smartphone maker's mobile patents precisely so it could defend itself against its competitors.