25 Aug 2012

Apple wins $1bn damages from Samsung

Electronics giant Samsung plans to challenge a US court ruling awarding more than $1bn (£665m) in damages to Apple over a patent dispute.

A federal jury recommended on Friday that Apple be awarded the damages after finding Samsung guilty of “willful” violations of a number of Apple’s patents in the creation of its own mobile products.

In a statement, Samsung said it will “move immediately to file post-verdict motions to overturn this decision in this court, and if we are not successful, we will appeal this decision to the court of appeals.”

The jury did not recommend awarding Samsung any money in its counterclaims that Apple had violated some of its patents.

“This is a huge win for Apple,” Mark Lemley, a Stanford law professor, said. The award “is just large enough to make it the largest surviving patent verdict in history.”

The court found confirmed allegations including someof 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 and several Samsung devices incorporated Apple’s facility allowing users to zoom into text with a tap of a finger.

‘Loss for American consumer’

Samsung said the verdict should be viewed “as a loss for the American consumer.”

“It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices,” the company said in a statement.

“It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies.

“Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products.

“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 will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.”

‘Stealing isn’t right’

Apple praised the court for “sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.”

“The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew,” the company said in a statement.

An issue still to be decided is whether to grant injunctions that could prevent Samsung from selling products that infringe on Apple’s patents. Judge Lucy Koh wanted both sides to be ready for a hearing on the matter in two weeks, but Samsung’s team argued that wasn’t enough time. A hearing was scheduled for 20 September.

Apple had asked for $2.7bn in damages, claiming that Samsung “ripped off” its iPad and iPhone designs. Samsung countersued Apple for infringing on five of its patents and asked for $519m.

A nine-person jury spent two and a half days puzzling out its final verdict. Jury members used weeks of notes and memories of testimony, 109 pages of jury instructions, and boxes of evidence, including a collection of contested smartphones and tablets as their guide.