Verdict Split in Apple v. Samsung
Source:TT Times
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  • SAN JOSE, Calif. – Jurors here awarded Apple a fraction of the patent infringement damages it sought from Samsung, failing to hurt the Korean giant or slow the Android juggernaut, analysts said.

    The verdict in the second Apple v. Samsung patent infringement case here gives both sides reason to claim victory publicly and feel defeat privately.

    Apple can claim it won by far the most damages ($119.6 million) and instances of infringement. However, it reaped little more than five percent of the $2.191 billion in the damages it sought -- far less than the $1.05 billion awarded in its first case here 18 months ago -- and the jury found no infringement on two of its five patents in the case.

    Samsung was awarded damages for Apple infringing one of its patents, but it got an even smaller fraction ($158,400) of the total ($6 million) it sought, and a fraction of the amount awarded to Apple. It was the first decision in the two cases of Apple infringing a Samsung patent.

    A few shoes have yet to fall in the case. Judge Lucy H. Koh will be asked to grant an injunction against Samsung selling infringing mobile devices in the U.S. That's not widely expected, and in any case Samsung's latest models such as the Galaxy S5 were not at issue in the trial.

    Jurors found Samsung guilty of willful infringement on the '721 patent on which it awarded just $750,648 in damages. The decision gives Judge Koh the option of increasing those damages up to three fold.

    On Monday, jurors will be dismissed and get an opportunity to talk publicly about their thinking behind the verdict. It's anyone's guess what the four men and four women on the jury will decide.

    Before they are let go, they will be asked why they assessed no damages for one Samsung smartphone they decided had infringed, an apparent mistake caught by Apple's attorneys.

    The eight-person jury decided Samsung owes Apple $119.6 million for infringing three of its patents. Apple owes Samsung $158,000 for infringing one of its patents. The full verdict form is below.


    In summary, the jury found:

    All Samsung accused devices infringed Apple's '947 "quick links" patent.

    No Samsung devices infringed the '959 "universal search" or '414 "background synch" patents.

    Six Samsung devices infringed Apple's '721 slide-to-unlock patent.

    The Judge ruled at the start of the case Samsung infringed Apple's '172 "automatic word correction" patent.

    Apple infringed Samsung's '449 patent on presenting photos and videos.

    Brian Love, an assistant professor of law at Santa Clara University who has been following the case, provided extensive commentary on it:

    Though this verdict is large by normal standards, it is hard to view this outcome as much of a victory for Apple. This amount is less than 10 percent of the amount Apple requested and may not surpass by too much the amount Apple spent litigating this case.

    Apple launched this litigation campaign years ago with aspirations of slowing the meteoric rise of Android phone manufacturers. It has so far failed to do so, and this case won't get it any closer.

    Overall, this outcome is feels like a defensive victory for Samsung, and not a particularly shocking one. Compared to the first case between these companies, this trial was an uphill battle from the start for Apple. With Google directly involved in developing the allegedly infringing software, Apple's claims that Samsung blatantly copied the iPhone never rang true.

    Apple's case at trial also bogged down at times in nitty-gritty expert testimony about the patented technology and complex damages calculations.

    Samsung's partial win on its own counterclaims is icing on the cake, a moral victory against Apple's insistence that it is a peer-less innovator.

    The focus of this case now shifts to whether Apple can convince Judge Koh to issue an injunction banning the sale of Samsung products found to infringe. So far Apple has been unsuccessful at doing so and, without a sales ban, this case is unlikely to move the needle on the larger battle between Apple and Android.

    It is also important to remember that no money has changed hands and none will for some time to come, if ever. Samsung appealed Apple's earlier victory and will almost certainly appeal this one as well. Large damages awards in patent cases are reversed quite often post-trial. It's entirely possible that we'll be right back where we started 18 months from now.

    To the extent it wasn't already apparent, this verdict should suggest to Apple that litigation isn't a very effective means to gain a competitive advantage over Android. Hopefully, Apple will come to that conclusion, end its worldwide patent war, and go back to competing in the marketplace with innovative products.

    Florian Mueller, an analyst following the mobile patent wars, also commented on the verdict on his blog.

    "So far, the only feature that Google and its Android device makers have not been able to work around without losing the benefit of the invention is rubberbanding," he wrote. "After more than 50 months of Apple litigation against Android, this fact shows the limits of Apple's intellectual property."

    Mueller also suggested both this jury and the one in the case 18 months ago may have been too timid in questioning the validity of the patents at issue. At least one of the Apple patents in the first case was successfully challenges at the patent office, he noted.

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