Update: Apple’s win shrinks by US$2.2m, companies respond

James Niccolai and Martyn Williams
25 August, 2012
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Samsung must pay Apple US$1,049,343,540 billion for infringing several of its patents in Samsung smartphones and tablets, a federal court jury decided this morning.

The verdict ending the landmark trial between the two companies is a complex one, involving numerous products and company subsidiaries. But in most instances the jury found products of the Korean company and two of its U.S. subsidiaries infringed Apple’s patents.

The verdict can be seen overall as a big win for Apple, although the Cupertino-based maker of the iPhone and iPad was awarded less than half of the US$2.75 billion in damages it was seeking.

Immediately following the reading of the verdict, the court went into recess to allow lawyers to review the verdict and raise any questions they have before the jury is dismissed. David Steel, Samsung’s Senior Vice President for North America Strategic Marketing, was sitting in court to hear the verdict, ticking off the jury’s findings one by one. He ignored a reporter’s request for comment and left the courtroom as the court went into recess.

The complex case included several claims by Samsung that Apple had infringed on its patents, but the jury found none of those claims to be valid. “Zero,” the jury forewoman said when reading out the damages Samsung would get from Apple.

The verdict was read out before a packed courtroom of reporters, attorneys, and other observers. Because of its complexity, Samsung’s lawyers asked the judge to keep the jury in the courtroom for 30 minutes after the verdict was read out, to sort out any possible inconsistencies in their decision.

When the court reconvened, two apparent errors were raised. Both concerned damages awarded for products that were not found to have infringed Apple’s patents. They amounted to US$2.2 million, however, so made barely a dent in the total award.

The verdict came in after the nine-person jury at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, had been deliberating for less than three days. That was faster than many observers had expected, given the number of issues the jury had to decide on.

According to a report from the New York Times, Apple and Samsung both issued statements following the verdict this morning.

Apple spokesperson, Katie Cotton:

“We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behaviour willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.”

Samsung Electronic’s statement:

“Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.” 

Apple and Samsung have been fighting the closely watched battle since early last year, when Apple accused Samsung of violating a handful of its design and technology patents related to the iPhone. Samsung shot back soon after, saying Apple had violated some of its own technology patents.

Observers had expected the jury to deliberate for longer. They had not asked a single clarification question since they began their deliberations Wednesday morning local time. On Thursday they asked to extend their deliberations by an extra hour each day, which some thought to be a sign that they thought they would need a lot of time to reach their verdict. In hindsight, they may simply have wanted to get their work finished before the weekend.

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