SAN JOSE, Calif. – Apple scored a significant but not complete legal victory on Friday in its landmark patent case against Korean rival Samsung, winning damages of $1.049 billion plus a verdict of willful infringement on many counts. The willfulness verdict opens the door to the judge awarding punitive damages of as much as three times the already record amount set by the jury.
Apple sought as much as $2.71 billion in damages from the jury and said it expected to gain at least $500 million if any infringement was found.
The nine-person jury here found that many Samsung phones in question violated most of Apple's two design and three utility patents. However, the jury found that Samsung's tablets do not infringe Apple's iPad design patent.
As a result, Apple is
more likely to press the patents under consideration in this case in
other patent lawsuits as well as in private negotiations with Android
The judge in the case set a Sept. 20 hearing to determine whether to set an injunction against selling in the U.S. any of the products found to be infringing. Those products are generally a set of about 12 Samsung Galaxy S and S II handset models.
Samsung said it will appeal the decision, saying the verdict will lead to "fewer choices, less innovation and potentially higher prices."
The decision validates the strength of at least four Apple patents in the case, the exception being a design patent on the industrial design of the iPad. The jury also found that Samsung violated registered and unregistered trade dress, a reference to product "look and feel," on both the original and 3GS iPhones. The jurors did not buy Apple's argument about the look and feel of the iPad, however.
Apple did not infringe any of the five utility patents Samsung alleged, including two patents Samsung considered part of the 3G cellular standard. However, the jury found that Apple failed to show that the patents were invalid or that Samsung had broken contractual agreements or antitrust law regarding how the Korean company pursued the patents and their licensing.
Apple and Samsung both worked hard to show the other side's patents were invalid, bringing in many examples of what they claimed were prior art along with expert witnesses, including top academics. Ultimately, the jury held that all patents were valid.
Rick, have you taken a good look at a Samsung Galaxy S phone? If you have, you may notice that the rounded corners at the top have a smaller radius than the corners at the bottom. This is important for trade dress copying arguments. Did this come up at all? To my knowledge, Apple's iPhone rounded corners are the same top and bottom?
Frank, absolutely, you are dead on. I have heard so many times that high tech companies do prefer to file IP litigation in Texas, rather than in Silicon Valley, precisely for the reason you mentioned. They want to confuse the juror and they want their results their way. (I was told)
But in this Apple vs Samsung case, my god, the jurors they assembled are amazing. I think it's a significant decision (and foresight) on the part of Apple to do this in the court in San Jose.
It's amazing what a jury of 9 random people in Silicon Valley looks like. Any suggestion that this jury was somehow inadequate or ill-equipped to hear this case is, I think, not going to fly.
The foreman was a retired EE who worked for 35 years in the hard disk drive industry and has a patent of his own related to video compression.
Another juror was a mechanical engineer, another "an aspiring software engineer", yet another had worked at National Semiconductor and yet another had worked at various IT startups as a benefits administrator.
One prospective juror that Apple lawyers successfully excluded from the jury was a Google engineer who had worked on, among other things, the Android OS.
This info came from the following article:
I don't know the ins & outs of why different IP litigation cases are filed in different districts, except that there is often a strong preference for filing in Tyler, Texas -- where IP litigation is a local cottage industry. There you might be able to get a jury consisting of a farmer, a housewife, a truck driver and any number of people completely unrelated to and lacking knowledge of the electronics industry. I mean no offense to the good people of Tyler, I'm just pointing out that there is no significant local electronics industry there.
I don't quite understand the strategy of filing there. Do lawyers think a less technically sophisticated jury will be more easily influenced? That sword can cut both ways, and seems risky to me, whether you're the plaintiff or the defendant.
For a case like this one, I would think either side would prefer a Silicon Valley jury containing several members with experience in our industry.
"a mobile phone is a mobile phone and there's not much form factor difference you can put in the design."
Seriously? That may have been true prior to 2007, but the original iPhone changed everything. A good argument can be made that if not for the iPhone, there would be no Android phones either.
Maybe someday when x86 is as competitive on power as the ARM-based A5.
Meanwhile, you can bet that Apple didn't blindly and aggressively pursue this litigation without considering possible effects on A5 supply. Whether Plan B is TSMC, GF, UMC or some combination of foundries, I strongly suspect that Plan B is more fully developed than anyone realizes.
What is the possibility that the jury's decision will be overruled by higher court? I do not have a good knowledge of the jury system. It sounds like 9 randomly picked people, who have no expertise in electronics or law have decided on who is guilty.