It didn’t take a jury very long to decide that Samsung’s smartphones infringe on some of Apple’s patents. The S. Korean company has therefore been ordered to pay over $1 billion in damages.
The Apple v. Samsung case went to the jury on Wednesday, and late yesterday the ruling came down: a number of Samsung’s products are similar enough to Apple’s that they violate three of Apple’s software patents and four hardware ones.
Samsung had countersued, arguing that Apple infringed on five of its patents. The jury ruled against all of these.
Apple had requested $2.5 billion in damages, but the jury awarded $1.05 billion. Still, because the jury decided that Samsung had willfully infringed, the judge could double or even triple the award.
Not everything went Apple’s way, the jury ruled that the design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab doesn’t copy the Apple iPad.
While the amount levied against Samsung is high, it is hardly going to cripple the company. Its mobile division enjoyed $4.5 billion in profits in the second quarter of this year alone, and the company has $21 billion in cash reserves.
What has the potential to be much more damaging is what comes next — Apple has already indicated it is going to use this ruling to try to ban the U.S. import of many of Samsung’s smartphones. On the bright side for Samsung, its Galaxy S III flagship model is so new it wasn’t part of the trial, so is not open being banned .
The S. Korean company is likely to be scrambling to modify its devices so that they don’t infringe on the patents. This is going to require some profound changes. For example, the jury ruled that Apple’s patent on pinch-to-zoom is valid, so no other company can include this feature in its products.
But the legal jockeying is far from over. Samsung is going to appeal this decision, and Apple is going to appeal the parts that went against it. In addition, Apple is likely to sue other makers of Android-based smartphones based on the strength of this victory.