Patent Wars: Apple VS Samsung

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Patent war between Apple and Samsung evolves

Samsung Electronics Co. owes Apple, AAPL, more than $290 million in damages caused by infringing patented technology in a number of products. The trial that ended on November 22nd, 2013 was a ‘sequel’ aiming at restoring the amount previously cut during the 2012 trial.

San Jose, California, hosted the federal jury consisting of two women and six men. It took them one week only to restore the large amount of the previously cut $1.05 billion verdict to its present $290 million. The Korean manufacturer was found copying some of the crucial iPhone technologies in a series of popular Samsung smartphones and tablets.

Apple resorted to the same arguments and lawyers, as well as witnesses, except for a new expert in damages, Julie L.Davis, who replaced a deceased witness. Ms.Davis, a certified public accountant, provided exhaustive evidence for the jury to come up with the damages sum.

During the previous 2012 trial, the U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh chopped a thick $410.5 million slice off the initial $1.05 billion sum. At the time, the judge explained the cut by significant miscalculations in the infringement period when Samsung launched its 13 devices that are now under a lot of scrutiny. The recent trial was initiated by Apple with the aim to restore $380 million, while Samsung suggested a $52 million award.

Clearly, the two giants are in a state of war since long. Both of them are reaping profits of a lion’s share of the market, and both of them are spending astronomic sums on legal fees. The world’s greatest gadget developers have long ago started the legal war of claims for copying each other’s features in a pursuit of global market domination. Back in 2011, Apple held 13% of the market when it started the legal fight. According to IDC, a Massachusetts-based research firm, Samsung held 31% of the market in 2011.

The experts predict that the Apple-Samsung patent issue is unlikely to have any impact on Korean gadget sales, or the brand’s image whatsoever.

According to Bloomberg, the $290 million verdict was the fifth largest amount in 2013 awarded by the US jury, and the largest award in a patent trial. In total, the Korean brand now owes $930 million in patent infringement damages to Apple.

Samsung is obviously disappointed with the verdict, especially since the large part of patents in question has been deemed invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently. Clearly, the South Korean company is going to continue with post-trial motions and appeals. Most importantly, “We will continue to innovate,” said Lauren Restuccia, a Samsung spokeswoman.

The trial covered 13 Samsung devices, including one of the most popular Samsung’s Infuse 4G. None of the devices in question is currently on sale.

Apparently, Samsung failed to provide sufficient evidence to invalidate the proof provided by the Apple’s experts. The jurors agree that Ms. Davis’s testimony played the key role in decision-making of the jury.

Samsung lawyers argued that Apple’s argument was emotional; that Apple’s “windfall” of damage claims was based on “beautiful and sexy,” whereas the patents on trial were “very narrow.”
The Federal Appeals Court on November 18, 2013, made it clear that Apple is in a good position to pursue the sales ban in the U.S. on infringing Korean devices based on patents such as multi-touch technology, however, not on patented designs. A spokesman for Apple, Kristin Huguet said, “We are grateful to the jury for showing Samsung that copying has a cost.”

A new trial is scheduled for March 2014, covering a new technology in Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

The list of infringing Samsung devices
The list of infringing Samsung devices