Nobody really knew what to expect as the jury announced Friday afternoon that they had completed the 700 item-strong document summing up the massive patent case between Samsung and Apple. The US version of this particular fight took a little over three weeks as each side used their 25 hours to convince the jury of guilt or innocence. In the end, they found Samsung guilty of quite a few of the patents that Apple was claiming, to the preliminary tune of $1.05 billion. How exactly did we arrive here, and what does it mean for the smartphone ecosystem?
In the end, it was determined that Samsung’s patents on accessing a 3G network did not apply to Apple, and that Apple owned valid patents on icons with rounded corners and colorful backgrounds for the iPhone, but not the iPad. Apple also owned valid patents on tapping to zoom, two finger gestures, and the way any list or menu scrolls in iOS. Not every Samsung phone violated every patent, but every device was found to infringe on the bounce-back patent for the animation that happens when you get to the bottom of a list. The jury then assigned a dollar amount to each of the violating devices, which added up to the preliminary number we now have.
This verdict was by no means the end of things between Samsung and Apple. In a few weeks there will be some more action surroundiung this hearing, and that could either go really well or really poorly for Samsung. Since it was determined that Samsung knowingly borrowed from Apple, the consequences that Judge Koh could levy against Samsung have the potential to be three times what the jury determined. Either way, Samsung will appeal this decision, and it will be a long time before this is fully resolved. Everything that is happening now is a waiting game, and at the same time these two titans of the mobile industry continue to wage war in several other countries.
In a way, it was pretty obvious that Apple would win this. The iPhone is an incredibly popular device. The device may not be in the hands of every American citizen, but there is no denying that the word iPhone has long been a part of the American lexicon. Samsung, while an impressively large company, is not known for one single brand of smartphone. Even if the jurors had never owned, or even held and iPhone, they had heard the word before. This case was the inevitable result of putting lay people in front of an incredibly technical case where one device is well known and the others are not. In many ways, Samsung has already grown wildly beyond the company that they were when the Galaxy S was the best phone they could manage, and I think the best thing they can do at this point is to look forward to bigger and better things.
What do you think of the trial?