Jury says Samsung infringed Apple patents

May 03, 2014 by Paul Elias
In this Tuesday, April 29, 2014, file photo, apple attorney Rachel Krevans, right, walks with others to a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. A California jury determined Friday May 2, 2014, that Samsung infringed Apple smartphone patents and awarded $120 million damages. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

A California jury awarded Apple $119 million—far less than it demanded—in a patent battle with Samsung over alleged copying of smart phone features, and the jury made the victory even smaller by finding that Apple illegally used one of Samsung's patents.

The verdict Friday was a far cry from the $2.2 billion Apple sought and the $930 million it won in a separate 2012 trial making similar patent infringement claims against older Samsung products, most of which are no longer for sale in the United States.

The jury found that Apple had infringed one of Samsung's patents in creating the iPhone 4 and 5. Jurors awarded Samsung $158,400, trimming that amount from the original $119.62 million verdict. Samsung had sought $6 million.

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

The award may be adjusted slightly in favor of Apple. Jurors were ordered to return to court Monday to continue deliberations on a minor matter that could result in a higher award for Apple. Because the jury was still empaneled, jurors were prevented from talking publicly about the case.

Samsung spokesman Lauren Restuccia declined comment, citing the ongoing deliberations.

Apple declared the verdict a victory.

"Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. "We are fighting to defend the hard work that goes into beloved products like the iPhone, which our employees devote their lives to designing and delivering for our customers."

In this Tuesday, April 29, 2014, file photo, Apple attorneys Harold McElhinny, foreground, and William Lee walk to a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. A California jury determined Friday, May 2, 2014, that Samsung infringed Apple smartphone patents and awarded $120 million damages. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Unlike the first trial in San Jose federal court in 2012, Samsung lawyers made Google a central focus of their defense. Google makes the Android software that Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers use as their operating systems. Samsung argued that Google was Apple's real target.

More than 70 percent of smartphones run on Android, a mobile operating system that Google Inc. has given out for free to Samsung and other phone makers

Both companies will now try to urge the judge to remove the others products from store shelves in the United State. Love and other experts say that neither company is expected to succeed with those demands.

"So far Apple has been unsuccessful at doing so and, without a sales ban, this case is unlikely to move the needle on the larger battle between Apple and Android," Love said.

The verdict marked the latest intellectual property battle between the world's top two smartphone makers. Apple and Samsung have sued each other in courts and trade offices around the world.

Apple and Samsung are locked in a bitter struggle for dominance of the $330 billion worldwide . Samsung has become the leader of the sector with a 31 percent share after being an also-ran with just 5 percent in 2007. Apple, meanwhile, has seen its market share slip to about 15 percent from a high of 27 percent three years ago.

The jury of four men and four women delivered its verdict in the latest case after beginning deliberations on April 29.

In this Tuesday, April 29, 2014, file photo, Samsung attorney David Nelson walks to a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. A California jury determined Friday, May 2, 2014, that Samsung infringed Apple smartphone patents and awarded $120 million damages. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

During the monthlong trial, Apple argued that many of the key functions and vital features of Samsung phones were invented by Apple. Samsung countered that its phones operate on the Google Android software system and that any legal complaint Apple has is with the search giant.

Google entered the smartphone market while its then-CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board. The move infuriated Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who considered Android to be a blatant rip-off of iPhone innovations.

After removing Schmidt from Apple's board, Jobs vowed that Apple would resort to "thermonuclear war" to destroy Android and its allies. At the recent trial, Samsung attorneys produced an email Jobs sent to executives in 2010 urging them to wage a "holy war" against Android in 2011.

Early in deliberations, the jury wanted to know if Jobs had mentioned Google when considering the lawsuit that was eventually filed in 2012, several months after the Apple founder died of cancer.

In this Monday, April 28, 2014, file photo, Apple attorneys Harold McElhinny, left, and William Lee, walk with others to a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif. A California jury determined Friday, May 2, 2014, that Samsung infringed Apple smartphone patents and awarded $120 million damages. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh told jurors no additional evidence was available to them beyond what was presented during the trial.

Koh answered similarly to questions about Samsung's chief executive officer's reaction when informed that Apple executives had complained to executives at the South Korean company about alleged patent infringement.

Explore further: California jury has questions in smartphone case

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Returners
4 / 5 (8) May 03, 2014
A California jury awarded Apple $119 million—far less than it demanded—in a patent battle with Samsung over alleged copying of smart phone features, and the jury made the victory even smaller by finding that Apple illegally used one of Samsung's patents.


There are only so many ways to skin a cat before you start using and having the same exact ideas as another person.

There are only so many piece of technology you can put in a "flat rectangular device" before you start to infringe somehow on someone else's technology.

Hey, the Sumerians and the Mayans independently invented writing. I guess they should have sued one another for infringement.

Gene Roddenberry invented the "Smartphone" and the Tablet. All smartphone companies should have to pay his estate because they stole the idea from Star Trek.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (3) May 03, 2014
Accepting the legitimacy of patents for for things like "rounded corners", ensures a constant flow lawyer fees.

But I don't think the issue is quite that simple though. If one company tries to emulate the look and feel and feature set of a proven sucessful product, then they are effectively stealing the r&d and marketing costs, that went into its developement.

Dr_toad
May 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
IamVal
3 / 5 (2) May 03, 2014

The "slide-to-unlock" feature in which you unlock your touch-screen phone by sliding your finger across the screen.

Searching multiple sources of information at once, which is something that Apple's Siri gimmick does when it's trying to provide information to you

Detecting phone numbers in emails so you can just tap the number to call someone (a highly useful feature).

A built-in spell-check that suggests alternatives when you misspell something.

these are the aspects being argued that apple's best of the best labored over creating and samsung's 'blatant copying' detrimentally affects their market share.

lets examine:
"slide-to-unlock" is a feature of android, and of dozens or hundreds of 'locker' android apps to replace the basic lockscreen.

Searching multiple sources of information
another feature of underlying os, Not samsung hardware. also a perfectly natural leap from single searches for any programmer with the resources.

IamVal
3.7 / 5 (3) May 03, 2014
detecting phone numbers in emails:
also a feature of google mantained Gmail Apps for the google android operating system.
this is a single line of code starting with grep( ... My 5 yr old could probably golf this out in a week.

built in spell check:
what a surprise, another feature of underlying code, not hardware.
automatic spell check has been around since before 2000, and suggestions have practically always been just a right click away- not because we couldn't display them dynamically, just that it was unnessesary as most people didn't have an extra hand to put on the mouse. Incorporating the mouse and keyboard into a single input stream seriously changes the paradigm

and the last, truely bothersome one not yet discussed:

rounded corners.

seriously now?.. that's like ford suing GMC for using internal combustion for purposes of transportation... certainly covered by the patent if read this way.

Pejico
May 03, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Anda
5 / 5 (2) May 03, 2014
Lees suing and more innovating ... Apple. Without Jobs, creativity (wait, what's that??) ...

Happy to switch to galaxy. If there's something I don't like I just change it. Period. Full control of the device.
The number of things I can do on a Samsung compared to an Iphone are countless.

And the numerous features copied by Apple is evident.
someone11235813
5 / 5 (1) May 03, 2014

There are only so many ways to skin a cat before you start using and having the same exact ideas as another person.


'Slide to unlock', for example? Yep, there was no other way to unlock a phone. Oh wait, there was and Samsung tried them all but in the end none were as good as Apple's idea. So they stole it.
IamVal
not rated yet May 04, 2014
someone^^ seems to be missing the point:

samsung had nothing to do with the inclusion of that feature(or any of these mentioned).
they are part of the Google Maintained android platform and it's extension widgets, the latter mostly produced by individuals and smaller corporations.

alfie_null
not rated yet May 04, 2014
It would be interesting if juries making relatively small awards in cases like this became a trend. Might make companies rethink using litigation as a strategy for dominating their markets.
someone11235813
not rated yet May 04, 2014
@IamVal, you can see the Samsung rejected alternatives here http://tinyurl.com/osgvv8z