AMITIAE - Saturday 3 May 2014

Cassandra: Apple v Samsung - Apple has a Partial Win and is Awarded Samsung's Loose Change (Updated)

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


When the iPhone was announced in January 2007, many dismissed it. After all, Apple was not a player in the handset market and the lack of experience would surely cause a failure. The rest, of course is history.

Also history is the way that, after the iPhone was a success, that other phone makers begun to change their handsets. I can remember travelling on a Bangkok bus and looking at a passenger's iPhone (rare in those days), only to discover that it was a Samsung. Not only was the shape similar, but many of the features incorporated were also apparently copied, either by Samsung, or perhaps by the developers of the operating system used on the phone, Google, with its Android.

There were trials on the patents in many countries, with Apple having mixed success. There were some surprises, particularly in Europe. One of the most significant trials was held in California, in front of Judge Lucy Koh. A verdict in that case ended up with Samsung being required to pay over some $2 billion or more, but some companies are not good losers. Eventually a second trial was held with a focus on five patents: the verdict on that is now in.

As before, Samsung was found to have infringed on an Apple patent, although, Ina Fried reports for re/code, not the other that was in question: at least, not totally. Only some Samsung phones infringed on that.

It would appear from the early reports that Apple is not likely to get the $2 billion figure it was asking for with the jury awarding a lower figure of several millions.

Another report from Mike Beasley on 9to5 Mac who reports that,

  • On Apple's autocorrect text entry system, Samsung was found to have wilfully infringed

  • On the search system that can locate local and Internet-based data simultaneously, Samsung was found not guilty

  • On the patent that covers certain data synchronization methods (like iCloud), Samsung was found not guilty

  • On the slide to unlock patent, Beasley reports a mixed verdict (as with the Ina Fried report, above) - some devices only

  • On the patent involving autocorrect suggestions, Samsung was found guilty.

    The jury says that Apple is to be awarded $119,625,000 in damages: not the $2 billion it asked for, but slightly higher than the piecemeal $38 million that Samsung thought its stealing was worth. The judge may still apply punitive damages.

    For just under $120 million, the jury is almost rewarding Samsung for copying the patents. If the judge does not award a higher figure, there is little motivation to stop it doing the same again. Slapped wrists is not going to deter Samsung or others.

    After putting this online, I also read in the MacRumors item by Juli Clover, that Apple had been found guilty of infringing one of Samsung's patents:

    As for Samsung's claims against Apple, Apple was found guilty of violating the company's 449 patent related to an "Apparatus for recording and reproducing digital image and speech", and was ordered to pay Samsung $158,400.

    See also:

    Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.

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