TODAY.AZ / Business

Samsung fills Apple safe with $120 million

05 May 2014 [14:05] - TODAY.AZ
An American jury has ordered Samsung to pay $119.6m to Apple for smartphone patent violations, far less than Apple had sought and marking a big loss for the iPhone-maker in the latest round of the two companies’ worldwide litigation.

During the month-long trial in a US federal court in San Jose, California, Apple accused Samsung of violating patents on smartphone features, including universal search. Samsung denied wrongdoing. On Friday, the jury found the South Korean smartphone-maker had infringed two Apple patents.

Apple and Samsung have been fighting in courts around the world for three years. Jurors awarded the iPhone maker about $930m after a trial in San Jose in 2012, but Apple failed to persuade US district judge Lucy Koh to issue a permanent injunction against the sale of Samsung phones in the US.

Some industry observers regard the ongoing legal dispute as an attempt by Apple to curtail the rapid growth of phones based on Google's rival Android software. Samsung was by far the largest adopter of the operating platform.

“Though this verdict is large by normal standards, it is hard to view this outcome as much of a victory for Apple. This amount is less than 10% of the amount Apple requested, and probably doesn't surpass by too much the amount Apple spent litigating this case,” said Brian Love, assistant professor at the Santa Clara University law school.

“Apple launched this litigation campaign years ago, with aspirations of slowing the meteoric rise of Android phone manufacturers. It has so far failed to do so, and this case won't get it any closer,” Love said.

The latest case involves five Apple patents that were not at issue in the 2012 trial and that cover iPhone features such as slide-to-unlock and search technology. Apple had sought to ban sales of several Samsung phones, including the Galaxy SIII, and wanted a little more than $2 billion in damages.

It is now up to Koh to decide if a sales ban is warranted, although legal experts say that is unlikely. “An injunction is extremely unlikely,” a professor at Rutgers Law School, Michael Carrier, said. “The Federal Circuit sets a high bar.”

Responding to the verdict, Apple said the ruling reinforced its stance that “Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products”. Samsung representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The shortfall in damages for Apple led some experts to again question if patent litigation among the technology industry's biggest companies, which has been on the rise in recent years, was a viable strategy.

Critics say patent litigation can be abused and can hinder innovation. Its advocates say litigation helps innovators protect their intellectual property and benefit from it.

“What the verdict shows is that Apple's patents did not play a significant role in consumer decisions,” Carrier wrote. “One wonders if the endless smartphone patent wars, costing millions and putting the focus on the courtroom rather than the innovation lab, are worth it.”

During the trial, Samsung argued that Apple had vastly exaggerated the importance of its patented iPhone features; Apple said Samsung could not have competed in the smartphone market without unfairly copying Apple’s flagship product.

In the trial in San Jose, the jury found that Samsung had infringed two Apple patents. The judge had ruled before the trial that Samsung had infringed a third patent. The jury also found Apple had infringed one of Samsung’s patents.

Samsung, which had asserted a $6 million damages’ claim, was awarded $158,400.

During the trial, the two companies also sparred over how Google’s work on the software used in Samsung phones, Android, affects Apple’s patent claims.

Google was not a defendant in the case, but in the trial Samsung pointed out that some of the features Apple claimed to own were actually invented by Google, and it called on a handful of Google executives to testify on its behalf.

Apple said Google should not affect how the jurors analysed Samsung's liability, partly because Google had agreed to reimburse some of Samsung’s costs.

After the verdict, Apple’s lawyers argued that the jurors had made a technical mistake in awarding damages to Apple on a patent covering one of Samsung’s phones. Koh ordered the jurors to return on Monday to resolve this issue, which could increase Apple's damages award by a few hundred thousand dollars.


/The Guardian/

URL: http://www.today.az/news/business/133323.html

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