Apple has won the epic US court battle that it started against Samsung over patent infringement of its iPhone and iPad products. It looked like it could go either way for a lot of the time and both sides played tricks to try and get their evidence heard in court. However, in the end, Apple has prevailed having been awarded a huge $1.051 billion in damages against Samsung. There is some consolation for Samsung however, in that Apple had asked for $2.5 billion in damanges, but got less than half of that. The jury also said that Apple will not pay Samsung any damages for its patent claims! In other words, a hands down victory. This verdict could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products, making Apple’s dominance in the rapidly expanding mobile market much, much stronger.
Steve Jobs swore that he’d take down Google’s Android platform, claiming that it was a blatant copy of his iPhone and this verdict just handed Apple a powerful weapon against its competitors, which it’s guaranteed to use and may well eventually prevail against Android. Why innovate when you can litigate?
The two companies also fought the same battle in several other countries, including South Korea. The verdict for that fight came in on Friday, but was much more of a stalemate: both companies had infringed on each others’ patents. The court ordered Samsung to stop selling ten products, including the Galaxy S2 and Apple four products, including the iPhone 4. The US battle was the most significant one by far however, which is sure to affect the competitive landscape of Apple versus competing smartphones of any description. Apple is currently the world’s biggest, richest company and they just won the mother of all battles, so who is going to want to compete and risk a lawsuit from them now? In short, this verdict looks very bad for a healthy, vibrant and competitive mobile market.
There is also an interesting situation in that Apple sources the bulk of the components that go to make up the iPhone and other products from Samsung, so it will be interesting to see how that relationship holds out. “The companies are rivals, but also have a $5 billion-plus supply relationship. Apple is Samsung’s biggest customer for microprocessors and other parts central to Apple’s devices”, reports Reuters.