Over the past four weeks, Apple and Samsung were back in court for yet another patent infringement saga. 2012’s proceedings was one of the most keenly-watched trials involving two tech giants, and ended with the jury ruling in Apple’s favour, ordering Samsung to pay close to $1 billion in damages. The second trial, involving a different set of patents and devices, saw Apple suing Samsung for $2.191 billion and Samsung counter-suing for $6.2 million. The jury has reached a preliminary verdict over the weekend, and interestingly enough, both Samsung and Apple were found guilty on different charges.
Apple sued Samsung for five different patents, which the American company claimed was wilfully violated in ten Samsung products, including the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S3. Just like 2012’s trial, many of the products Apple sued for are no longer in production, and many were US variants of the Galaxy S2 – all of them, excluding the international variant, were found not guilty of illegally using Apple patents. In total, the jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $119,625,000 in damages.
The five patents Apple sued Samsung for are: slide to unlock gesture, universal search, background data sync, keyboard autocorrect and Quick Links (a feature that changes addresses and numbers into tappable links). Of these five, the jury ruled that Samsung had infringed two of them, namely the slide to unlock gesture and the Quick Links feature. The slide to unlock patent was ruled to have been wilfully violated, which could lead to a heavier penalty – up to three times the total damages, should the judge allow it.
In addition, the jury was also found to have filled the damages section for the international Galaxy S2 with a zero. This means the jury will have to meet up once more to make a final calculation, which will alter the final $119 million that was announced over the weekend.
Apple’s statement following the ruling was naturally triumphant:
We are grateful to the jury and the court for their service. Today’s ruling reinforces what courts around the world have already found: that Samsung willfully stole our ideas and copied our products. 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.
However, it was not as big a win as it was for Apple in 2012. The jury ruled that Apple had also violated one of two Samsung-owned patents the Korean company had counter-sued Apple for. The two patents were a feature on the photo and video gallery app, and a video compression and transmission feature. The jury ruled that Apple did not violate the latter patent, but five prominent Apple devices infringed on the former patent: the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, as well as the 4th and 5th-generation iPod Touch.
Though the countersuit amounted for $6.2 million in damages, the majority of that claims comes from the video compression and transmission patent – which the jury ruled Apple did not infringe upon. As a result, the jury ruled Apple to pay Samsung $158,400 in damages. Samsung declined to comment on the ruling.
The damages ordered to be paid by both parties are a mere fraction of the grandiose numbers claimed by both Apple and Samsung. The figure awarded to Samsung is a pittance compared to the amount awarded to Apple and even then the final amount could still be higher. More importantly, at the same time the $119 million seems like loose change when you consider the billions Samsung pours out in its global marketing budget.
The Apple-Samsung trial isn’t over yet despite the ruling, as not only must the jury meet once more to discuss the damages to award Apple for the Galaxy S2. And once again, there’s no stopping either company from starting yet another lawsuit in an increasingly bitter relationship.
[Update] The jury has reconvened, and has left the total damages intact. The jury panel adjusted the amount for some products, where some were raised and others were reduced, but the total damages stood at $119,625,000.
Samsung has also finally released a statement:
We agree with the jury’s decision to reject Apple’s grossly exaggerated damages claim. Although we are disappointed by the finding of infringement, we are vindicated that for the second time in the U.S., Apple has been found to infringe Samsung’s patents. It is our long history of innovation and commitment to consumer choice, that has driven us to become the leader in the mobile industry today.
Don’t expect this to be the end just yet, though, as appeals for both the damages owed and the final verdict are likely to come from both parties.