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Err, no

Apple scored a major legal victory last night after a US jury found arch rival Samsung violated patents used in the iPhone and ordered the South Korean company to pay $1.05bn (£664bn) in damages.

Million, billion….still a stunning verdict though.

13 thoughts on “Err, no”

  1. “still a stunning verdict though”: it’s rather more stunning when an American court finds for the foreigners rather than the home side.

  2. Let’s suppose that the verdict is indeed partisan (which was my first thought also – it would be interesting to compare the verdicts in these cases across the world). Does that mean that as some economists have suggested the USA is damaging its prospects by choosing not to have a fair and efficient legal system?

    Even if the result is fair, it’s all a colossal waste of time and money directed at making consumer products worse. Let’s abolish software patents now.

  3. “The nine-person jury in San Jose, California…”
    Wherefore “nine”?

    What happened to “twelve good men and true”? Do nine-man juries apply only in California?

    Just wondering…

  4. PaulB: given that Apple alleged infringement of some design-related patents, abolishing software patents wouldn’t have got rid of the case altogether. (Unless the design patents were a cheap bolt-on, or a stalking horse.) Though those, in fact, should be the easiest to exclude: what other shape do Apple expect competitors to use for a smartphone, a sphere?

  5. Samsung was found to have infringed the design of the front fascia, the home screen layout, and the general “trade dress”. The other three infringements were software patents.

  6. The rubber banding patent is defensible, but there is no way that Apple invented pinch to zoom. Even Jeff Han says his work builds on decades of earlier work.

  7. Patents are technical things: even experts have trouble working out what some claims actually mean. Juries are not a good way to decide patent disputes, which is why most jurisdictions abandoned that many decades ago. Presumably Samsung will appeal so the final decision is made by judges.

  8. At this rate Apple will have America sown up. ’cause no other company will risk marketing their products there if there is a chance of getting sued by Apple. But then they will market to the rest of the world where Apple won’t have the “home” advantage. Overall a bad situation for technology.

  9. First three commenters – generally Californian courts and juries (“where the fruits and nuts are” was how a Chicago lawyer put it to me) have a pretty poor reputation for first instance decisions. Things often change on appeal, particularly damages.

    In contracts with each other, Californian businesses frequently put arbitration clauses in, so if there’s a dispute, it goes nowhere near a jury. So excitable juries have less effect on Californian business than you might expect.

    Can’t do the link, but a Korean version – yesterday I think – of the same dispute was a score score draw, with each orders to pay fines of about$50,000. There have been recent decisions in (from memory) Germany, Australia and uk, not all about exactly the same gadgets.

  10. CHF speaks the truth.
    Mind you, word on the tek street is that although this is good for Apple short term, it kills them long term.
    Because now Google must invest in (and patent the hell out of) a completely new & better paradigm.
    Project Glass, for example.

  11. Sadbutmad and Tim Newman, Apple sued over some quite remarkable replication of Apple’s iPhone by Samsung. The whole point of the suit was that there are many ways to present a “smartphone” so why did Samsung go so close to an exact copy of the iPhone. That coupled with the internal emails that made it clear that the decision to do so was quite deliberate.

    Is it reasonable to expect that when you introduce a new product that anyone else can simply copy the entire device, relabel it, and sell it ? BMW would have quite a strong case to sue Toyota if Toyota produced vehicles that we shaped just like,say, a 3 series, with a dual kidney shaped grille, and a round blue and white badge, and a model such as, say, a 324 or something like that.

    Samsung now produces smartphones that look distinctly different to the iPhone, and as much of an iPhone user as I am, a look that I think is well done and attractive. Apple have not attempted to sue Samsung for producing those models.

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