The jury has reached a verdict in the U.S. Apple vs. Samsung trial and based on numerous reports, it looks like Apple has scored a significant victory. Both The Verge and CNET have been live-blogging the event, and in broad-strokes, it seems like none of Apple's patents were ruled invalid. Samsung was found to be infringing Apple's design and utility patents, and to have diluted Apple's trade dress. Apple was not found to be infringing any of Samsung's patents, and further found that Samsung was abusing standards-essential patents. Not all Samsung devices were found to infringe all Apple patents, but it sounds like a majority of them were.
Apple was ordered to pay Samsung absolutely no damages. Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion.
Reaction has been decidedly mixed. Some believe this is a victory for innovation that will force copycats to invent their own stuff. Others believe this is a defeat for innovation that will have a chilling effect on the entire industry. The truth, as always, probably lies in between.
It's important to remember a few things:
- It'll take a while even for those well versed in trademark law to sift through the fine details and add perspective and clarity, and help form some sort of informed opinion on what this means for Apple, Samsung, and mobile going forward.
- In the meantime, no one is going through the streets, home by home, room by room, forcibly taking or breaking anyone's existing Samsung devices. If you own a Galaxy today, you'll still own it tomorrow.
- Apple and Samsung also remain huge manufacturing partners, and both have new products in their pipelines.
- This isn't over.
What difference, if any, this verdict will make in the market, now and into the future, is harder to predict, and a lot of questions remain. If this was a "pay your fine, go about your business" type of decision, then Samsung is already fielding new devices and while this might sting -- a lot -- long term damage probably won't be severe. If this was "change your business and now", and the infringement was found to be ongoing, then Samsung might be in a lot more trouble.
Also, what this means for Apple's current and potentially future cases against Motorola (now owned by Google), and HTC remains to be seen.
There's an enormous amount of information to digest, so we'll take the time to digest it. For now, to put it in cheap TV election coverage terms, however, we've just seen Apple paint the board aluminium. On the one year anniversary of Tim Cook becoming CEO of Apple, he has perhaps just overseen the biggest legal victory in their corporate history. And the legal ramifications, the distinctions between degrees of copying, will no doubt be felt for years to come.
What's your take? Is this a victory for Apple and for innovation? A travesty of justice? Something in between?
- iMore's ongoing Apple vs. Samsung coverage
- Android Central's ongoing Samsung vs. Apple coverage
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.