Samsung has been found guilty of infringing on Apple’s patents, as a jury in California delivered a near unanimous verdict in Apple’s favour in the smartphone industry’s biggest court case yet.
The jurors concluded that not only had Samsung violated Apple’s intellectual property, it had done so ‘wilfully’. It awarded Apple a $1.05 billion in compensation for loss of profits suffered as a result. Although the amount could be up to tripled if the judge sees it fit.
The panel determined Samsung unlawfully used a number of UI functions in iOS, including the so-called ‘rubber band effect’ when scrolling to the end of a page, pinch-to-zoom, twist and rotate, double-tap to zoom and the ability to drag documents.
Apple had long accused Samsung of ‘slavishly’ copying the design and technology of the iPhone and the iPad into the Galaxy range, which it argues is what allowed Samsung to become the thriving smartphone maker it is today.
The decision is a major blow for the South Korean giant as well as the Android ecosystem at large, as it gives Apple ammunition to go after other manufacturers that use these features without a license. It also forces the industry to think hard when designing future products.
In an internal memo titled “An important day for Apple,” CEO Tim Cook said: "We applaud them [the jury] for finding Samsung's behaviour wilful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right.”
He explained that Apple took legal action “reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work”, adding that he hopes "the whole world listens."
Samsung, naturally, had a different outlook. It said in a statement the verdict “should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer”, declaring that it intends to appeal.
“It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies.
“This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims.”
Do you think Samsung ‘wilfully’ copied Apple? Or do you think the decision was harsh? Let us know in the comments section below.