A California jury has delivered a verdict in what some are calling “the tech trial of the century,” ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy-powered smartphones “willfully” infringe on several Apple-owned patents.
The ruling was announced Friday afternoon, after the nine-person jury determined after two-and-a-half days of deliberation that several features of the South Korean electronics giant’s devices were infringements, including the graphical interface, tap to zoom, one-finger scrolling, pinch and zoom navigation, bounce back and the contoured design. It was determined that Samsung’s infringements were “willful” and that the company “knew or should have known” the infringements were taking place. Apple was awarded an astonishing $1,049,343,540 in damages, though they were seeking $2.525 billion.
In the one bit of good news for Samsung, the jury decided that their tablet devices did not infringe on Apple’s iPad patents.
Samsung sought nearly $400 million in a countersuit, claiming that Apple had infringed patents relating to high-speed data. The jury disagreed and they were awarded no damages.
During the three-week trial, Apple’s lawyers presented evidence including emails and internal reports showing that Samsung clearly had Apple’s products on their mind while designing the Galaxy devices, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Samsung was able to copy and incorporate the result of Apple’s four-year investment in hard work and ingenuity — without taking any of the risks,” Apple attorney Harold McElhinny said in his closing arguments.
Samsung’s witnesses testified that features and innovations found in the Galaxy devices were already being developed when Apple’s initial product line was released. In his closing argument, Samsung attorney Charles Verhoeven alleged that Apple was using litigation “to block its biggest and most serious competitor.”
“Rather than compete in the marketplace, Apple is seeking a competitive edge through the courtroom,” he said.
In a statement, Samsung calls the verdict “a loss for the American consumer” and says that patent law has given Apple “a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners” and “technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies.”
Apple said the suits “were about much more than patents or money. They were about values,” and applauded the court’s ruling.
The companies’ full statements are as follows (via TechCrunch):
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 trail 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 behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.
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.
Samsung said in a subsequent statement that they will “move immediately to file post-verdict motions to overturn this decision in this court, and if we are not successful, we will appeal this decision to the court of appeals,” CNN reports.
One issue that is still to be decided is whether the court will grant an injunction barring Samsung from selling products that infringe on Apple patents. If such an injunction is granted, CNN Money speculates that Samsung may be forced to remove the violating devices from the market until they are changed and that devices already in use may be subject to a software update that tweaks how they look and work.
A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for September 20.