Samsung did infringe, after all

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August 25, 2012 by McDowski

After a surprisingly short time deliberating, the jury in the Apple v Samsung trial have come back with a verdict heavily in favor of Apple.

While the exact patents in the case and the potentially infringing devices is large, the overall story is that the jury found Samsung devices to be infringing the vast majority of the patents. Samsung’s own counter-suit, however, came to nothing as the jury did not find Apple guilty of infringement. And because the jury also ruled that Samsung’s infringement was “wilful” it has also awarded Apple over a $1 billion in damages.

While the money is nice, the implications of the verdict are larger. After all, for a company that has $117 billion in cash reserves and was recently declared the most valuable company ever by market capitalisation (albeit unadjusted for inflation), another $1 billion isn’t going to make a hell of a difference.

The bigger victory was on a grander battle with Google and its Android platform. Apple now has a precedent for its argument that iOS devices’ ‘look and feel’ is patentable, and that it will actually hold up in court. Remember when Steve Jobs said that he would go “thermonuclear” on Android? Well, Apple now has the ammunition to do just that. HTC, Motorola, et al. were undoubtedly keeping a close watch on the trial to see how it might affect their own product lines, and they now have to make damn sure that they stay in the clear of Apple’s patents.

The next time Apple sues one of Google’s smartphone partners for patent infringement, I’m guessing they will be a hell of a lot more willing to settle.

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