Editor in Chief
[Editorial] Now That Samsung Was Found Liable, What are the Potential Ramifications?
Apple vs. Samsung in the U.S. Court System: It was one of the most titanic trials of the decade. A fight between two juggernauts of the mobile industry. Similar battles where being waged around the world, with various outcomes, some of which are still to be determined. In the end, (although the appeals process is just beginning), Samsung lost to Apple. The verdict was paradoxically both shocking and unsurprising. Most of us realized that there was some copying going on (by both sides), but few of us expected the defeat to be so utterly lopsided in Apple's favor. But, what does this defeat mean going forward, for the companies involved, the consumers, and the legal system in general? Here's a brief analysis below culled from multiple sources around the web. Before that here is a defiant statement issued by Samsung in response to the outcome:
Regardless, now that Samsung has been defeated by Apple in a U.S. court, we have several things to consider throughout this trial. We will attempt to list just a few of the most important ones (please keep in mind, much of this is simply speculation):
Samsung said in a statement, "[This was] a loss for the American consumer. 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."
- There is now a long appeals process coming, and it is possible we could see some reversals.
- During this trial, the publicity of the case actually helped Samsung in world-wide market acceptance and consumer knowledge.
- Because of all of this publicity Samsung is now considered an equal to Apple; however, after the verdict, their reputation could go either way. It could bolster their position, or they could be perceived as a copycat.
- Even if Samsung is hurt by this, it may not be much. They are still way ahead of Apple in the emerging markets of China, by a factor of over 2 to 1. Plus, this could rally Android fans even further.
- Apple will likely now ask for a ban on several Samsung products.
- Because the infringement was found to be "willful," Apple could seek Treble damages. That would turn the $1 Billion dollar verdict into $3 Billion. That's almost half the profit they made over the past year.
- This could lead to some sort of cross-licensing agreement between Apple and Samsung, in which Samsung pays Apple to make Android phones. Apple could then go after other Android OEMs for the same thing. This would hurt Android in the long run.
- Conversely, if Apple decides to pursue bans only, they can now use this case as precedent to go after other Android OEMs, which might hurt Android more (or could force change in the current U.S. Patent system).
- If Apple does seek a cross-licensing agreement, it will likely cause the price of all mobile devices to go up, which only hurts the consumer and market competition.
- Emboldened by their success, Apple could try to go after the Galaxy S III now.
- In the long run, this could actually hurt Apple more than it helps them, because they have effectively forced their competitors to think even further out of the box to remain competitive. Because of this, their competition is likely to change the rules of the game by creating a more disruptive technology. There are signs that this has already happened. Apple is now likely to release an iPad Mini, and an iPhone with a larger display. Both of these are reactive moves designed to keep up with the changes in the market brought on by Android.
As you can see, there are a ton of ways to look at this situation, and we have only covered just a few. There are obviously other factors to consider, and other perspectives on this complex issue. Share some of your ideas in the thread!
08-25-2012 08:14 AM
this trial was a sham!
I couldn't disagree more with this lopsided verdict. First of all the location for the trial. California of all places. High profile trials are usually moved to different venues because of the 'fairness' of our judicial system. This trial took place in Apple's backyard! How many of the so called jurors were screened for owning either a Samsung or Apple product? Conflict of interest anyone? And, the judge? Was she taking notes on an iPad? Texting with her professor hubby on her iPhone? Durr!
It was fixed, just like the OJ Simpson trial for the death of his ex-wife! The patents are ludicrous. Seriously, rounding the corners of a rectangle, patentable? wtf? Just poll IDHI (industrial design and human interface -ergonomics) pros for their opinions! Sharp edges are a no no! How many or our LCD and plasma TVs have sharp edges? None! Are those manufacturers suing each other because of 'rounded corners'? I think not!
Take a look at the rest of the world where similar trials are being conducted. What are the verdicts from those trials? They are trending against Apple!
Apple has built the largest company in the world by 'stealing' ideas from everyone else! I know for a fact, that a company gave Steve Jobs a 'tour' of a research facility in the early 80's and, lo and behold, a lot of what he saw on that tour went into his products! Too bad they weren't patented!
The appeals will probably wind up in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Where are they located? In California, of course. This court of judicial monkeys have the dubious honor of having the US Supreme Court overturning over 80% of their rulings! Good news for Samsung and the Android community.
Bottom line - if this 'faux trial' had taken place in the federal court system in any other place than California, I'd bet the verdict would have been completely opposite.
Any way that you look at it, I believe the consumer will end up being hurt in the end.
I think if patents aren't upheld, then the consumer suffers. Who is gonna create something neat, for the purpose of making money and then have someone steal it and profit.
Apple and Samsung need to make or purchase technology and then be allowed ro profit from it without being ripped off. Otherwise, of ideas and not protected, no one will innovate...for fear of not reaping the benefits