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Summary:

Samsung has suffered a massive defeat at the hands of Apple in the first major patent trial of the smartphone wars. The ruling appears to be a clear win for Apple which could help entrench the iPhone maker’s power in the marketplace.

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The jury in the “tech trial of the century” ruled Friday that Samsung smartphones have infringed on a number of Apple’ core patents, including one for “bounce back” technology. Worse for Samsung, the jury has also found that the infringement was intentional, which could lead the judge to increase the $1.05 billion in total damages the jury awarded.

Apple’s case is based on claims that Samsung “slavishly copied” its popular iPhone and iPad.

The jury’s award was based on the determination that products like Samsung’s Galaxy tablet and assorted phones violated Apple’s patents. The infringements related to so-called “utility patents” that cover features like the way a smartphone screen reshapes and “double-tapping” functions.

Apple also won rulings based on its “design patents” which covered the shape of its iPhones. The jury did not, however, side with Apple on its controversial “rectangle” design patent that related to the shape of the iPad.

The jury also found that the patents are not invalid — which would have protected Samsung.

The news for Samsung went from bad to worse as the jury found that Apple did not owe any damages related to its alleged infringement of Samsung’s patents. In the case of Samsung’s patents, the jury ruled that Apple didn’t infringe some of them in the first place. For two others, the jury found that Samsung had “exhausted” the patents and couldn’t enforce them against Apple.

The news came down after the jury unexpectedly announced that it had reached a verdict in the complicated intellectual property case. Legal pundits had predicted the deliberations would take several more days given the complexity of the case.

The jury’s finding therefore appears to reflect that the jurors had largely made up their mind already about the case.

Samsung will now ask Judge Lucy Koh to review aspects of the jury’s ruling, including the size of the damages. The company can then appeal the ruling to the US Circuit Court for the Federal Circuit, a specialized-patent appeals court in Washington, DC.

See also: Triple damages and injunctions: what next for Apple and Samsung

  1. Is this the result of thermonuclear ?
    Apple wins the battle.Sad day for innovation or does this mean that Samsung has to be more original and not copy.Will they continue to see large profits and will we continue to see technological strides in the mobile sphere.

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    1. It means that Samsung has to be more original and not copy. We’ll continue to see technological strides because if you’re not allow to copy, you have to innovate to compete.

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    2. No this is a great day for hard working men and women who come up with ideas and work hard to take it to the next step. Obviously a sad day for copiers who just wait to duplicate others work.

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      1. Apple must be near to death if need to brings competition to court on old design patent instead of bit them with new ideas.
        Until Steve was there there was enough innovation that there was no need of go to court to survive.
        This is the starting of the end for Apple. Samsung product are now superior for design and technology and no patent is infringed.

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    3. Sad day for innovation? How is it that Windows phone looks and works nothin like iOS and Nokia’s Lumina phones look distinctive from iPhone?

      The only sad thig is how so many people defend brainless copying as “innovation”

      If Microsoft and Nokia can innovate, why can’t Samsung?

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      1. You don’t double tap on a Windows phone? How about pinching and stretching text? Those are some of the patents in question.

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  2. Bounce back ‘technology’: The epitome of innovation

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    1. Safety pin. Patented.

      Safety razor. Patented.

      Variable speed wiper blades. Patented.

      Electric fan. Patented.

      The toaster. Patented.

      So many people don’t seem to understand the fundamental principle of patents.

      Patents exist to give indented a legal monopoly for a limited period of time.

      Patents do not exist so inventors can frame a piece of paper on a wall.

      All the inventions listed above are obvious today, but they weren’t obvious at the time they were invented.

      Rubber-banding is no different. Just because it is obvious today doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve patent protection. To argue otherwise is bein willfully blind and ignorant. Not to mention anti-Constitution because yes, patent protection is written right into the constitution by our Founding Fathers.

      Samsung’s defense is nothing but nonsensical trash talk. Apple hasn’t patented the rectangle. Just looks at the Nokia Lumina phone for proof.

      Of course, producing somethig truly different and innovative like Microsoft did with Windows Phone 7 and Nokia did with Lumina is apparently beyond Samsung’s limited imagination or design capabilities.

      But don’t take my word for it – that’s Samsung’s own argument, wah wah, it’s impossible to design somethig different from Apple!

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  3. Steve Jobs was famous for his line about everyone copying.

    Ferguson argues that everybody copies, including Apple, and that “everything is a remix.” He starts with the early songs of Bob Dylan and ends with the iPhone — topped off with a 1996 clip of Steve Jobs quoting Pablo Picasso’s line: “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.”
    “And we’ve always been shameless,” Jobs famously adds, “about stealing great ideas.”
    “In other words,” Ferguson concludes, “great artists steal, but not from me.” From the Fortune article.

    The fact is that the original Mac was copied from Xerox Parc stuff, the ipod was a redesign of other MP3 players, the iTouch was a redesign of the iPod with a touch screen, the iPhone was an iTouch with a phone, and the iPad is a big iTouch. Brilliant marketing and design, but little innovation.

    When companies start to think about making money by defending patents, it’s a sign they have lost the innovative edge.

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    1. Sad isn’t it for Apple to copy from themselves to bring their products to the next level.

      Sad isn’t it that SJ brought whatever was hidden in the PARC lab to the mainstream.

      Sad isn’t it without the iPhone UI all android phones would look like the blackberry.

      Sad isn’t it when a company is allowed to copy others’ hard work and profit from it.

      Sad isn’t it when a company innovate by copying from the market leader.

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    2. they’ve lost what? Dude…you do realize that Apple, despite whatever you think, still owns 70% of the smartphone revenue, right? that is…70% of all the MONEY in smartphones goes to Apple…market size has no meaning, money is all that matters.

      So…how is Apple dieing and losing their edge again?

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    3. Michael Jardeen Saturday, August 25, 2012

      What most people don’t seem to pay attention to about Xerox/Parc is that Apple paid them money to use their ideas…

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      1. And people have to be reminded that Apple used obly some of the ideas. It wasn’t so much specific features but the overall gestalt that impressed Jobs. Apple went on to extend the metaphor and came up with many different and more user friendly aspectss in MacOS. Even when Xerox corporate figured out that PARC had something valuable that could be sold in the form of a workstation, Xerox failed at that.

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  4. Great victory for Apple and for innovators around the world. Innovation is the root of American entrepreneurialism and enterprise. I believe it is important for the courts to uphold the patent institution and to preserve the reward for innovation. Without patent protection inventors around the world would lose motivation for their ingenuity and we would not enjoy the amazing products we do now. I don’t buy notion that this is a loss for the consumer and will limit their choices.

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  5. Michael W. Perry Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Those who think this is a disaster for Samsung might want to look at what Groklaw is reporting:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2012082510525390

    1. In essence, the decision’s problems revolve around a jury so rushed to reach a verdict, they blundered badly. Here are the relevant passages from Groklaw.

    “In two instances, results were crazily contradictory, and the judge had to have the jury go back and fix the goofs. As a result the damages award was reduced to $1,049,343,540, 1 down from $1,051,855,000. For just one example, the jury had said one device didn’t infringe, but then they awarded Apple $2 million for inducement. In another they awarded a couple of hundred thousand for a device they’d ruled didn’t infringe at all.”

    2. It also appears obvious, the jury did not take the time to understand their instructions:

    “If it would take a lawyer three days to make sure he understood the terms in the form, how did the jury not need the time to do the same? There were 700 questions, remember, and one thing is plain, that the jury didn’t take the time to avoid inconsistencies, one of which resulted in the jury casually throwing numbers around, like $2 million dollars for a nonfringement.”

    3. And there i this remark from one juror:

    “Apple v. Samsung juror Manuel Ilagan said the nine-person jury that heard the patent infringement case between the companies knew after the first day that it believed Samsung had wronged Apple….”

    4. And this about prior art, a key part of Samsung’s defense that was partially withheld from jurors:

    “It didn’t dawn on us [that we agreed that Samsung had infringed] on the first day,” Ilagan said. “We were debating heavily, especially about the patents on bounce back and pinch-to-zoom. Apple said they owned patents, but we were debating about the prior art [about the same technology that Samsung said existed before the iPhone debuted]. [Velvin Hogan] was jury foreman. He had experience. He owned patents himself. In the beginning the debate was heated, but it was still civil. Hogan holds patents, so he took us through his experience. After that it was easier. After we debated that first patent — what was prior art –because we had a hard time believing there was no prior art, that there wasn’t something out there before Apple.

    “In fact we skipped that one,” Ilagan continued, “so we could go on faster. It was bogging us down.” …

    5. Bogged down? This is a suit involved billions of dollars. They obviously didn’t take what the time needed to do seriously. For instance, there’s this indication of their carelessness:

    Professor Michael Risch points out an even worse inconsistency:

    How did the Galaxy Tab escape design patent infringement? This was the only device to be preliminarily enjoined (on appeal no less), and yet it was the one of the few devices to be spared the sledgehammer. And, by the way, it looks an awful lot like an iPad. Yet the Epic 4G, a phone I own (uh oh, Apple’s coming after me) — which has a slide out keyboard, a curved top and bottom, 4 buttons on the bottom, the word Samsung printed across the top, buttons in different places (and I know this because I look in all the wrong places on my wife’s iTouch), a differently shaped speaker, a differently placed camera, etc. — that device infringes the iPhone design patents….

    So be sure and check Groklaw. There are other issues and remarks from jurors that make it likely this verdict will be appealed and overturned.

    Apple would have been better off if the decision had taken longer and been decided more consistently and with more care to the details.

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    1. Oh please. Grasping at straws. This is like the knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail who insists he is still winning the fight after getting his arms and legs cut off by King Arthur. Spare us the wishful and deluded reasoning.

      The jury got through it fast because it was clear cut case. Not to mention the foreman was an engineer with both legal and patent experience, and other members of the jury were also highly educated and experienced.

      Oh but never mind, delusion after a major defeat is a common symptom. Let hope Samsug keeps “winning” this way!

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  6. It’s not disaster for Samsung,it’s disaster for all of us.People her talk about “innovation” and “copying”,but Apple has copied a lot through years.Although I agree that copying the look of a product can led consumers to confusion,I doubt this is Apple’s concern.The want to take down Android,even the phones don’t have nothing to do with Iphones.To patent “bounce back” feature and “rectangular” form is just ridiculuous.

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  7. I think that Apple has finally got what it wanted: no competition. This also limits my choices for a smartphone or tablet. Possibly it is the other way, Apple actually pilferred from Samsung.

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  8. Apple’s victory will mean MORE PHONE OPTIONS for consumers.

    Samsung’s copycat actions are the same as if Chevy copied Ferrari’s 458 Spider – making the same looking car, down to the colors, shape, seats, steering wheel, dashboard, radio, tire tread pattern, etc. All of Chevy’s models become variations of Ferrari’s 458 Spider in appearance. But by Ferrari winning a lawsuit against Chevy, Chevy is forced to create different looking cars – such as the Corvette, Camaro, Volt, Malibu, Cruz, Sonic and Spark. This causes consumers to have more options.

    Because of Apple’s win, there will be MORE PHONE OPTIONS. After all, Samsung still wants to make billions of dollars in the smartphone market. After all, Samsung still wants to sell more smartphones than Apple.

    Samsung will just have to make different looking smartphones. It actually has to be more creative – like MICROSOFT, Sony, and the car companies.

    This is a win for consumers. And this is a win for America, where we value innovation, creativity, and individualism.

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  9. I am curious if anyone noted the make of cell phones that the jury uses. Wouldn’t it be something if they are all iPhones?

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  10. At last innovation in this country is protected. If you look at what’s happening in china and rest of the world. Everything is copied and sold as cheaper product which is killing in innovation that is driving factor of US economy. We must protect intellectual property, encourage innovation than copycat of products.

    We shouldn’t worry about less choices in the market, actually it will create more innovation and create better products than what you have today. Otherwise you will end up seeing same products in the market. In a long term, Apple and Samsung judgement shows right path to the industry.

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  11. lol patenting the rectangle is sick, but the bounceback and other stuff that makes the iphone so smooth to use is really relevant. did you ever use a phone a few years ago that was trying to catch up with the iphone but wasn´t quite there? it was quite pitiful. the thing is apple made the touchscreen phone work, for real, without frustration for the user. they did not rush it, they did not cut corners, they did not measure efforts, and everything else looked pathetic in comparison. fast forward to today and samsung phones are great. now why do you think that is?

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  12. Injustice on fait avec samsung. Ca prouve ke samsung est le meilleur sur le marche mondiale. Bravo SAMSUNG continue a lutter

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  13. If you practiced IP-why no links to the patents in question?

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