Apple V. Samsung: What the Verdict Could Mean for Smartphone Technology
The Apple v. Samsung showdown continues, though their courtroom showdown has come to a costly close. Friday's verdict in the Apple-Samsung case, as reported by the Huffington Post, came with a hefty $1.5 billion dollar price tag payable to Apple. And though Apple walked away the victor in this suit, its implications in the tech world are potentially far-reaching.
In the case against Samsung's infringement, the jury found the company guilty of "willfully infringing" on six of seven Apple patents, including three major utility patents (which control the features of a phone or tablet), and the design of the somehow-patented rectangular with rounded-edges and rounded-back iPhone. And though the court's decision has Samsung executives reeling trying to come to terms with the "absolutely the worst scenario," Apple's lawyers were unable to convince the jury that Samsung violated a patent on the physical design of the iPad.
Will Apple's lack of an iPad design patent be a game changer in the tablet market? Probably not, but as a whole the court's decision has serious implications on both smartphone and tablet innovations. Michael Rose, lead editor at The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) weighed in on that: "The overwhelming court victory for Apple puts the entire [tech] industry on notice: stop the photocopiers." He adds that the awarded billion-plus dollar damages "could grow dramatically due to the willful nature of [Samsung's] infringement."
That said, there's also the sense that the verdict deals more with the past than the present in terms of smartphone technology. As Rose points out, "Samsung and other Android OEMs have already begun moving away from the patents at issue in this case." But these Android-platform devices are still out there in the market, and with the change of legal landscape, some experts think that consumers could be turning to Samsung products given that they are now documented to be precise copies of Apple products, but of course carry a more palatable price tag. Enrique Gutierrez writes: "I'm writing this post after the FOURTH group of Starbucks patrons have made the connection that Samsung is now the same as Apple."
But it's likely that Apple will seek injunctions on sales of Samsung smartphones that use its patented technology, including the Samsung Galaxy II. So consumers may actually have fewer smartphone options to choose from going forward as many companies may be too timid to compete against Apple, and will simultaneously have to try that much harder to innovate on their own. Darren Murph, Managing Editor of Engadget, remarks that "companies all over the tech sphere are now operating on pins and needles, just praying that some obscure patent hoarding outfit doesn't serve up a lawsuit on a product it's crafting."
Michael Rose, though, thinks that the jury verdict will serve to restore some sanity to the industry because it sends a message to the imitators that pilfer from the innovators. "It will help ensure that the products that succeed are the best ones — not the best ripoffs." That sentiment is echoed by Jamie Young, Editor in Chief at AppAdvice.com: "Now that Apple has claimed a position of technical leadership over the market as a whole, we can only hope that they continue to innovate."
What are your thoughts on Apple's victory against Samsung? Will a new, highly-innovated Android device (or a Windows or Google phone) entice you? Or will you stick with a tried and true, albeit pricier, Apple product? Sound off in the comments below.
Front page photo credit: BuzzFeed
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