Apple-Samsung Lawsuit: What You Need To Know About The Verdict

What You Need To Know About The Apple-Samsung Verdict

The verdict in the high-stakes patent infringement lawsuit between Apple and Samsung is in. The jury's decision? Samsung did infringe D’087 patent -- and a host of others.


Here's the jargon- and legalese-free guide to what you need to know about the billion-dollar case that's just gone (almost entirely) in Apple's favor.

Apple sued Samsung for a Dr. Evil-esque $2.5 billion in damages. Was that wishful thinking? Is Apple getting any of that money?

Yes. The jury has ruled that Samsung willfully infringed a number of Apple patents (more on that in a minute) in creating a number of devices (more coming up on that, too) and has been ordered to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages. Apple, which Samsung countersued for $422 million, will not have to pay anything to Samsung.

As Buzzfeed's FWD notes, that 10-figure payout may be handsome, but it's likely to pale in comparison to the profits Apple can make from licensing its patents later on.

So what did Samsung copy exactly?

Apple accused Samsung of infringing on seven patents that covered everything from the "pinch and zoom" capability of iDevices to "bounceback" effect you see when scrolling. Samsung was found guilty of infringing six of the seven patents -- Apple's lawyers weren't able to convince the jury that Samsung had violated a patent on the physical design of the iPad -- and willfully infringing five of those. That "willful" infringement helped bump up the sum of the damages.

Ignore the numbers associated with each patent. What's important here are the functions and designs Samsung was found to have pilfered from Apple, and which the Korean company likely can't use in future products without paying a hefty bill to Apple. As we described before, there are two types of patents at stake: utility patents, which control the features a phone or tablet can have, and design patents, which cover how they look.

The jury found Samsung guilty of willfully violating all three of the utility patents: No. 381, 915, and 667. Really, touchscreens wouldn't be touchscreens as we know and love them without the tech patented in these three. Patent 381 covers smartphone's ability to drag documents, rotate by twisting, and zoom in by pitching, court documents show. It also covers the bounce that happens when you scroll too far in a document. Patent 915 covers how we scroll through documents using one finger. And patent 163 covers the tap-to-zoom functionality found in Google Maps and other map apps.

There were also two design patents Samsung willfully violated (No. 667 and 305) and one unwillfully (No. 087), according to the verdict. Patents 667 and 087 cover the exterior of the iPhone. Somehow, Apple was able to patent and successfully defend a claim to phone that are rectangular with rounded edges and rounded backs. That's essentially the look of iPhones before the iPhone 4, as can be seen in the sketch from the patent below. The last patents the simple way icons are square-gridded out on an iPhone screen.

But didn't Samsung call Apple a copycat? And accuse Apple of violating Samsung patents?

Indeed, but Samsung's accusations didn't sway the court. As part of Samsung's counter-suit, the company claimed that Apple had infringed on three utility patents (things like sending email and multitasking) and two 3G standards essentials patents. The jury ruled that Apple didn't infringe on any of Samsung's patent, but Apple wasn't able to prove that those patents were invalid.

What now?

Well, Apple's share price shot up in the moments following the verdict and we have to imagine that there will be some champagne getting uncorked in Cupertino later this evening. The verdict marks a major victory for Apple on several fronts: It's solidified Apple's stranglehold on some features and, most importantly, sent a warning signal to its competitors to back off -- or else. We can add another item to the list of things Tim Cook is doing right by Apple (not by society though) during his first year as CEO.

What's next?

Come on, what's next in any high-stakes court case that hasn't reached the Supreme Court: a legal challenge. Samsung said it will seek to overturn the decision, willing to take the case all the way to the Court of Appeals.--It's all-around bad news for Samsung, Google and all the other device makers whose products are powered by the Android operating system. A warning shot has been fired, and Apple's competitors will be extremely wary of creating any device that even vaguely resembles an Apple product, reports the New York Times' Nick Wingfield. So expect to see more fighting between Apple and Samsung ahead.

And Apple fanboys aside, the verdict is also be bad news for smartphone-buying public who could see fewer smartphone choices on the shelves -- and higher prices for the ones still there, as Apple and smartphone makers start signing licensing agreements to use patents (lest Apple use them too). Samsung could be forced to pull products that were found to tread on Apple's intellectual property.

What this case proves most of all: Hell hath no fury like an Apple imitated. Consumers will feel the heat too.

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