In the fast-moving tech industry, most battles are won and lost in the market, not the court room. Courts are designed to move slowly and allow time for each side to make a case, conduct depositions, and call witnesses. More often than not, court cases function as mopping-up actions to redress alleged financial wrondoings long after the products and patents being fought over have faded from the public’s eye.
The epic Apple vs. Samsung trial, in contrast, will have an enormous impact on the ongoing operations of both companies. For months, the two companies have slugged it out in public, in court filings, and in the court itself. The situation has so frustrated Judge Lucy Koh that she memorably asked Apple’s lawyers if they were smoking crack during one phase of the trial. Apple has alleged that Samsung diluted its trademarks, damaged the market value of the iPhone, and sought to deliberately copy Apple’s designs. Samsung countered by claiming that iPhone-like designs existed prior to Apple’s work and that its own products were differentiated from Apple’s and not confused by customers.
The verdict today arrives a surprisingly short amount of time after the case went to jury. Despite being handed hundreds of pages of legal documents and extremely detailed instructions, the jury has never requested clarification or to hear certain testimony read again.
The verdict is rolling in as I type this, and the results aren’t good for Samsung. Massive and multiple counts of infringement across a wide range of products. I’ll continue updating this post as parts of the verdict are read, but this is going to be huge. Depending on damages and the specific nature of the penalty, it could torpedo Samsung’s Android business or require the company to pay huge damages.
Samsung will undoubtedly appeal the verdict, but this is still a huge blow. Samsung lost virtually every argument it made — none of its counter-claims against Apple appear to have been upheld, all of Apple’s patents were ruled valid, and the total damages assessed to Samsung is a bit over a billion dollars ($1,055,855,000 for the curious). Samsung has also been barred by patent exhaustion from bringing cases against Apple as they relate to certain patents (’516, ’941 are the patents in question).