In the ongoing patent wars between Samsung and Apple, the iPhone maker won the latest round after a jury ordered Samsung to pay $119.6m in damages for infringing on some of Apple’s patents. However, Apple would not be very happy with the damages awarded as they had filed for damages worth $2bn.
It is well known how smart phone manufacturers using various platforms have been locked in battle for a few years now, with Apple taking the lead in this. In fact, there are many critics who have pointed out that the major reason Apple is actually pursuing these lawsuits with such energy is so as to curtail the growing sales of Samsung who is its main competitor and uses rival technology behemoth Google’s Android OS.
Apple already had a previous win over Samsung, when in 2012 an American jury ordered the South Korean company to pay Apple damages worth $930m. Even back then, Apple tried to persuade the presiding judge to place a sales injunction on Samsung so that they could not sell their phones in the country. But the judge refused to do so, beating Apple’s plans of dominating the smart phone market via the court room battles.
This latest case involved 5 patents that weren’t part of the case in 2012, and once again Apple tried to prove that Samsung infringed on its patents. The jurors, however, found Samsung guilty of infringing on 2 of those patents with the judge already ruling the company guilty of a 3rd infringement before the trial began. These patents weren’t something major as you might think, including such features as slide-to-unlock and search. However, they were first developed by Apple, and they had the patents, and so certainly had the right to claim infringement.
However, having a patent does not necessarily mean that you will get a huge payout. You will also need to show that as a direct result of the infringement, your rival company was able to divert sales from your product to theirs. Therefore, it was incumbent on Apple to show that the features that were “stolen” by Samsung, i.e., the slide to unlock and search functions featured greatly in the decision making of consumers when they chose to buy a smart phone. Samsung argued that these features were not placed at a high value by consumers.
Samsung also claimed that some of the features that Apple claimed to own were actually invented by Google for their Android OS, and brought some executives from the search engine behemoth to testify. Apple, on their part, argued that Google, not being a defendant, shouldn’t be taken into consideration as well as the fact that they already offered to take up some of Samsung’s costs.
The final figure that the jurors awarded to Apple was a very low percentage to what Apple wanted, and once again industry experts have questioned whether it was really helpful to be diverting funds towards litigation rather than spending it in the labs developing new products and features.