Huge win for Apple over Samsung in patent case

by David Needle

August 24 2012

The federal jury in the closely-watched Apple vs. Samsung patent case has ruled in Apple’s favor, finding the Korea-based Samsung guilty of infringing a number of Apple patents. 

While the complete verdict is still being read as of this writing, Samsung has already been found guilty of most of the charges covering utility and design patents held by Apple related to the iPhone and iPad. 

The verdict means Samsung will owe Apple over $1 Billion for patent infringement, though Samsung will almost certainly appeal. 

The jury did find in Samsung’s favor in the complex case on some patents related to a handful of the over 20 phones and tablets Apple had accused Samsung of infringing, though, as AllThingsD reports, Apple won in the case of Samsung’s most popular phones. 

Apple has sought $2.5 billion in the case, charging Samsung "slavishly copied" the design of Apple's iPad and iPhone.

In an interview with TabTimes earlier this week, analyst Rob Enderle said the case appeared to be going in Apple's favor.

"Samsung Galaxy Tab is pretty much a knock off," said Enderle. "You could argue they improved on the iPad’s design. But there’s evidence from the Best Buy memos that customers were confused who bought Samsung thinking it was an iPad and returned the device." 

Apple introduced evidence in the case showing Best Buy customers returned Samsung devices because they thought they were either an Apple iPhone or iPad. 

A win for consumers? 

Michael Gartenburg, research director at Gartner, told the BBC the verdict could have big implications for the wider smart device market.

"Apple patents being upheld will force the rest of the industry to both innovation and differentiation," he said. "That will be a good thing for consumers in the long run. Anyone who was even thinking about borrowing a technology or design from Apple will think twice about it now.

Gartenburg said Apple's been trying to make the point that it's possible to create an experience that doesn't look like its designs, which he said only Nokia and RIM Blackberry are doing right now. He didn't mention Microsoft, but it should be mentioned that its Windows 8 phones and tablets (when they're released in October) are also distinctly different than Apple's products.

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