After weeks of arguments and years of build-up, jurors in a US court reached a verdict in the legal battle between Apple and Samsung over smartphone and tablet patents. Jurors found that Samsung infringed on a number of Apple’s patents for mobile device hardware and software and ordered the company to pay more than $1 billion in damages.

Samsung had also argued that Apple had infringed on some of Samsung’s patents, but jurors disagreed.

iPad and Galaxy Tab 10.1n

The good news for Samsung is that the Korean electronics giant has plenty of cash and can probably afford to pay the fine. The bad news is that today’s ruling could dramatically change the future of the smartphone and tablet space.

Jurors found that a number of Samsung’s smartphones infringed on design patents for Apple’s iPhone, although Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line of tablets were found not to copy the design of the iPad.

But jurors also sided with Apple in determining that Samsung had violated patents for smartphone gestures including pinch-to-zoom, tap-to-zoom, and 1 finger scrolling.

Update: This doesn’t necessarily cover pinch-to-zoom, but it does include certain touch-based gestures. 

In other words, Apple has patents on some of the features that are found in nearly every smartphone on the market today, including devices running Android, Windows Phone, and other mobile operating systems. Now those patents have now been held up in court. That could lead Apple to go after other mobile device makers.

Theoretically, Apple could also go after Google. That’s the company that actually makes much of the software that runs on Samsung’s phones and tablets. But Google gives away the Android operating system for free, and makes money when people use Google services such as Google Search on mobile devices. So it makes more sense at this point for Samsung to go after the companies that sell Android devices rather than the maker of the Android software.

Still, don’t be surprised if Google and other mobile software makers try to come up with some new “intuitive” gestures for zooming and scrolling in the future.

would be surprised, however, if Samsung didn’t try to appeal today’s ruling.

The two companies have also been battling in courtrooms around the world, with mixed results in Germany, South Korea, Australia and other regions. Today’s $1 billion dollar verdict is probably the most significant development in the company’s feud so far.

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15 replies on “Jury orders Samsung to pay Apple $1 billion in damages for patent infringement”

  1. This verdict will get trounced as well as appealed into oblivion. Not to mention that the patents that Apple are using are already being investigated by the USPTO for validity. Seeing that there is PLENTY of prior art most of if not all of them will be invalidated in which case the monetary damages here will be greatly reduced. Also the appeal as well as a motion 50(b) which Google has issued against Oracle this will be reduced to less than nothing. The judge did not allow prior art be introduced as evidence on Samsung’s behalf nor had the judge allowed Samsung’s designs predating the iPhone be shown. In 3 – 6 months if Apple see’s a few million from this it will be something. Let’s not forget that Google/Motorola are filing against Apple for product injunctions on patents that are REAL. Oh and the notification bar patent is a coming so Apple better watch out for an ass whooping of biblical proportions.

  2. This is so ridiculous that you need to laugh. I’ve never been biased towards any platform over another, as it’s whatever fits the user. Now I am going to avoid Apple like the plague and support their competition with my purchases. I will also support any politician who will help fix this broken patent system we have. Enough is enough.

  3. why dont they hold the trial in s Korea..!!!hmmmmm, and of all places california,,bet the jury all owns new iphones and ipads right now,,,can you imagine when they kill off android how much they will charge for their already overpriced apple products when their is no competition,,,get ready for 2000 dollar iphones and 4000 dollar ipads…

    1. “get ready for 2000 dollar iphones and 4000 dollar ipads”

      Extremely unlikely. Apple is mainly looking for greater market share. If there is a lengthy injunction on Samsung’s adjudged-infringing devices while the appeal goes forward, that’s exactly what they will get.

  4. If Apple’s case is
    based heavily touchpad based (which was the foundation of the development of
    touchscreen produces), I would think someone would trace such technology’s
    origins. In this case, it apears to be Apollo computers on or about 1982 with
    touchpads on their computers. Apple- original thought on two finger resizing,
    but everyone else helped them build produces such as:

    -the inventor of the
    first device to project a image behind glass

    -first person to make
    rounded edges on table corners

    -Apollo as stated
    above, purchase by HP in the ’80’s (would love to see HP take Apple and the
    U.S. to court)

    -E.A. Johnson, first
    person to publish an article on his work on capacitive touch screens in 1965

    Check my research- it
    is only Wikipedia deep- dangerous, I know.

    Wake up patent office- make sure idea are truly original! So
    far, I only see Apple’s original idea as pinching fingers together- I wish
    someone would come forward with that one also!

  5. I knew this was going to happen. This trial being held in San Jose home of apple, with a judge bought by apple and a San Jose jury probably all being biased towards apple.

    I am sure by now the jury has all gotten new itoys for their verdict. Actually the biggest looser here is going to be the consuming public.

    I hope Samsung appeals this.

  6. However, the Judge didn’t allow Samsung to present to the JURY some key “PRIOR ART” design defense materials… that, would have make the outcome of the jury decision much different. So more to come (Samsung already starting the appeal process).
    Best coverage of jury result found here:
    https://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120824175815101
    This is not over, and might end up at the Supreme Court.
    Rounded corners being patented, woth 1 Billion dollars, is something that the Supreme Court surely , would enjoy reversing (if I were to bet on it).

    1. Probably will have a good case considering that not only was there evidence prevented from the case but there was also inconsistencies like the jury awarded some of the damages without actually finding that the devices were infringing on the patents in question.

      There will already be a hearing to reduce the damages accordingly but brings into question exactly how the jurors decided on things.

      Along with other minor things like a juror who has parents with Apple stock, Koh allowed the juror to stay on the case because it wasn’t a direct compromise of interest because the juror didn’t directly own those stocks.

  7. Just a thought… What is the chance that this could backfire on Apple? A legal victory but a PR failure.

  8. They won a patent on tapping. On dragging. On basically everything touchscreen or touchpad related.

  9. I can’t help but think that Apple will now wield this ruling as a club against other major players in the tech industry. I’m thinking about Microsoft, which Apple has held a long grudge against, for copying the Mac’s look-and-feel in its Windows product.

    Obviously, Microsoft has a patent arsenal of its own, to defend against any Apple efforts. In fact, Microsoft could be called the 800 lb gorilla of intimidation, assessing a significant patent tax on many device makers. Its Windows OEM licensing agreements have been onerous for everyone (including consumers) as well.

    Whatever the outcome, I’m glad I’m not on the jury in cases like these. As much as I like to see bullies (and copycats) get their comeuppance, I don’t know what design elements become so important, by themselves or in combination with others, that they rise to the level of strategic significance.

Comments are closed.