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Apple Wins a Crushing Victory in Samsung Patent Wars

Samsung vs Apple

If you have not been under a rock for the last few months you are probably aware that Apple sued Samsung in a high profile patent lawsuit. The big news hit right before the weekend that the jury in the trial found Samsung to be in violation of multiple Apple patents with their headlining products along with a $1.05 billion assessed in damages. The $1.05 billion in patent damages are infinitesimal if you consider what this means for all other Android vendors. Samsung is currently the only Android vendor that is actually make money on the devices and now they will have to drastically change their strategy and devices. Samsung also failed to win a single one of their counter claims.

I have had quite a few people ask me what this means for RIM and it seems like this might be the beginning of a trend that can possibly be beneficial for RIM and Microsoft’s struggling Windows Phone platform. Apple can use this verdict to win multiple injunctions against Samsung products in the US and may coerce the remaining Android vendors, such as HTC and LG, into settlements that could cripple their Android products that are already bleeding money. This will also force Android vendors to focus on reworking their current in market products and delay their future products to avoid Apple’s claims and threats of injunctions.

There is no word on if Apple will go after RIM along with Windows phone but many of the patents found against Samsung are not relevant for BlackBerry products. For example, the look of the homescreen on BlackBerrys is different and so far the same has been true with the bezel. Pinch to zoom, one finger scrolling, double tap to zoom, and the rubber band effect may possibly cause RIM to adopt different effects.

All in all it looks like this will be an exciting week. What do you think? It also makes me wonder if Google will fire back escalating this into its own “mutually assured destruction” scenario.

PS: This is a pretty big deal in the technology patents world. This is one of those landmark cases that will probably even overshadow the NTP vs RIM settlement that dealt RIM a staggering patent settlement years ago.

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Ronen, I have to ask you what’s so crushing about this “victory.”

    – Samsung Galaxy S3 was not covered in the trial at all.
    – Apple lost in it’s bid to get a judgement against the Galaxy 10.1 tab, meaning that it can be sold and Apple will likely have to pay damages to Samsung for lost sales.
    – Samsung will almost surely appeal the case, and since in the next case there will not be a Jury form San Jose, it’s very likely that Apple will get less than they did.

    So, again, what exactly is crushing about this victory?

    I realize we live in an Apple aobsessed planet, where the company can do not wrong, but given that the “ask” was for 2.5 billion and a San Jose court gave Apple only 1 billion and wouldn’t support actions to stop Galaxy tab 10.1, I really don’t get this headline at all.

    BTW Microsoft has already signed cross licencing agreements with Apple so I don’t think they are going after windows phone. In fact there probably isn’t a company happier today than Microsoft.

    • Hey kiddo. By crushing I meant that they lost on all of their claims while Apple win the majority of theirs. Samsung is really the only successful android vendor and they just got their copy Apple strategy handed to them. They thought, along with me, that they could get away with it but now signs are pointing overwhelmingly in the opposite direction. In short who thought Apple would actually win on a patent for rounded corners?
      I didn’t know about the cross licensing agreement with Microsoft but I will read up on it. In short I just meant that Samsung got their hat handed to them by the jury without invalidating a single patent from Apple.

      • The problem is that a jury like that doesn’t have the skills to be able to make a decision in a patents trial, so Samsung may not have infringed on that many patents.

        Also, if you believe that most of the patents are invalid because of prior art or because they’re too generic, then benchmarking your competitors’ products and coming up with something similar isn’t a crime.

        I think Samsung went too far by copying the accessories, icons etc. and they should have created a special version of Touchwiz for the US since it’s one of the only country with silly software patents.

    • Agreed. This first round means nothing in terms of legal results. It’s more of a first step that each camp is going to try and use in their marketing campaigns and first signs indicate that Apple may not be a winner there.

  2. Given that neither the S3 nor the Tab 10.1 (and probably Galaxy Note) were covered by this, I’d say their strategy is pretty much unaffected.

    It is the S3 that really established Samsung as the firm that can produce a phone as good as or better than the iPhone and it’s the Galaxy tab with pen that Apple desperately wanted to keep off the market.

  3. This decision will get thrown out for sure. The jury has already gone on record as stating that they wanted to “send a message” and punish Samsung for infringing. Which is all fine and dandy except the instructions to the jury state that they are not allowed or suppose to do that.

    Also UI design patents are not legitiment and will eventually get thrown out by the supreme court. There is a precedence for this (see Lotus vs Borland).

  4. It’s pretty amazing that Apple won considering they have copied so much from Android and Blackberry:

    – Swipe down drop screens: Android copy.

    – Notifications: Android copy.

    – IMessage: A weak copy of BBM

    – Unified inbox: A weak copy of Blackberry messages.

    – Siri: A weak copy of Google Voice and Vlingo.

    – Apple maps: A weak copy of Google maps.

    – Cloned BB10 keyboard: A weak third party vendor copy that was approved by Apple.

    I hope QNX and TAT uses this as motivation to make BB10 truly unique and one of kind OS and to patent it quickly.

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