In a landmark ruling, Samsung has been found guilty of infringing upon many of Apple’s patents related to its mobile devices. Samsung will be forced to pay Apple a total of $1,049,343,540 in damages. The amount is less than the $2.5 billion Apple requested, but still a major victory for Cupertino.
The jury was required to fill out a 20-page verdict form, which contained 33 multi-part questions concerning the infringement by Samsung through its more than 20 smartphones and tablets. It was asked to decide whether or not Samsung infringed on a variety of Apple’s patents, including software and hardware design patents, as well as “trade dress,” which refers to design aspects that are non-essential to the function of a device.
Here’s how the patent violations break down:
- Patent ‘381 (the “bounce back” action): The jury ruled in Apple’s favor and found that all of Samsung’s accused products infringed on this patent. Concerning this patent, all Samsung devices were found for inducement (meaning Samsung made its U.S. counterparts infringe on the patent). Samsung was also found guilty of willful infringement on this patent.
- Patent ‘163 (the “double tap to zoom” action): The jury ruled in Apple’s favor and found that with the exception of eight mobile devices, Samsung infringed on this patent. Samsung was also found guilty of willful infringement on this patent.
- Patent ‘915 (the “pinch to zoom” and other zoom and scroll function actions): The jury ruled largely in Apple’s favor, saying the only Samsung devices exemptions are the Intercept, Replenish, and the Ace. Concerning this patent, all Samsung devices except the Replenish were found for inducement. Samsung was also found guilty of willful infringement on this patent.
There’s surely some overlap between what could be considered software and design, but there are the proper design patents that were covered in today’s verdict.
- Patent ‘087 (back of the iPhone): All Samsung smartphones infringed on this patent, with the exception of the Galaxy S 4G and Vibrant.
- Patent ‘677 (front of the iPhone): Aside from the Ace, all Samsung handsets were found to infringe on this patent. Samsung was also found guilty of willful infringement on this patent.
- Patent ‘305 (iOS app icon design): All Samsung devices were found to infringe on this patent – this has been a much-talked-about point, and the jury came down hard on it, saying, basically, that Samsung should have known better. Samsung was also found guilty of willful infringement on this patent.
- Patent ‘889 (iPad design – specifically, “clean front, edge-to-edge glass, thin bezel, thin outer border, and rounded corners”): On this patent, Samsung and its Galaxy Tab devices were determined to not have infringed on Apple’s patent, although monetary rewards were yielded to Apple — something that has been called to the court’s attention and is being reviewed.
Trade dress (overall design)
Trade dress is the overall styling of something, but is limited to design elements that aren’t functional and purely for… style’s sake.
Samsung argued that patent ‘893 was not protectable, but the jury ruled against this decision. However, Apple was only able to prove that trade dress of the iPhone 3G is protectable. All other iPhone models, and the iPad, do not have protectable trade dress, the jury ruled. The jury found that the Samsung Fascinate, Galaxy S i9000, Galaxy S 4G, Showcase, Mesmerize, and Vibrant all diluted the iPhone 3G trade dress. The Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Prevail, S2 (AT&T), S2 i9100, S2 (T-Mobile), Epic 4G Touch, Skyrocket, and Infuse 4G were not found to dilute iPhone 3G trade dress.
Samsung sues Apple… and loses
Samsung also filed suit against Apple, but the jury ruled that Apple had not violated any of Samsung’s patents. Apple was not able to prove that Samsung’s patents were invalid. But Apple will not have to pay Samsung any damages.
Apple did not win everything — but it won big. This case will have consequences for both the consumer electronics market, as well as the patent system itself, for years to come.
For a little context, however, the damages to be paid by Samsung equal about 0.0725 percent of its 2011 revenue (of about $145 billion). So while a billion seems like a lot of money, this isn’t going to put Samsung out of business.
Still, the consequences of this case are sure to reach far and wide across the consumer technology industry.
“The mere existence of a case like this will further push patents into the realm of a ‘commodity’ that is stockpiled by large tech companies for the purpose of stifling competition,” said Kevin Afghani, a patent attorney, in an email with Digital Trends. “This causes companies to think of patents first, and innovation second, which is opposite of the intended purpose of the patent system.”
Update: See statements on the verdict from Samsung and Apple here.
Update 2: After the correction of discrepancies in the verdict, the amount for damages inflicted upon Samsung by the jury changed from $1,051,855,000 to $1,049,343,540. This change of $2,511,460 has been reflected above.
Molly McHugh and Jeffrey Van Camp contributed reporting for this story.