The Apple vs. Samsung decision is a game-changer
The big deal isn't hardware design, however, it's all about the UI
Computerworld - Friday's record-breaking jury award of more than $1 billion to Apple in its patent lawsuit against rival smartphone-maker Samsung is a big deal, and pundits, analysts and lawyers have been scrambling since the jury verdict came down to dissect it and figure out what it means for the future. The verdict was announced after less than three days of deliberation, a swiftness that caught many by surprise, given the complexity of the case.
Samsung intends to appeal the decision, a move that makes sense. If nothing else, when you're talking about a $ 1 billion hit, not to mention other long-term business effects, spending a few million more on lawyer fees in the hope of reducing or overturning the verdict is a no-brainer. Legal minds world-wide have already weighed in about Samsung's chances of success, and there are aspects of the jury decision that could give Samsung hope. But it's probably a long-shot that a U.S. Circuit Court will overturn the core patent findings, even if it decides to tweak the verdict or reduce the amount of the award.
If that award stands, Samsung will not be deeply hurt financially -- $1 billion, while a large figure, is a fraction of one quarter's profit for the company. For the same reason, it's only a blip, albeit a nice one, for Apple, which made $8.8 billion in profit in the last quarter alone. The judge in this case has the option to triple the award and add the considerable legal fees to Samsung's costs, but even if that happens, the total amount will still be no more than $3.5 billion or so. That's real money, but not something that will change the game for either Samsung or Apple.
The long-term impact isn't even tied to the majority of the patents Samsung infringed upon. The design patents, having largely to do with device look and feel can be worked around, and while that could cause a scramble by Samsung (and every other smartphone manufacturer) to redesign potentially-infringing elements, there are more damaging aspects of the decision.
First, in the short-term, Apple can use the victory to get an injunction against the sale of a wide range of Samsung devices, effectively preventing them from being sold in the U.S. If that happens, it would still have a largely short-term effect, affecting some products no longer being sold and mitigated by a redesigned line of Samsung devices, many of which are already in the pipeline. The same goes for other manufacturers, which Apple could pursue next.
Much more critical are the jury findings around Apple's "utility" patents, covering user-interface (UI) elements. The most familiar elements in question have been referred to as "tap-to-zoom" (or pinch-to-zoom); these patents cover gesture-based elements that most smartphone users at this point probably consider standard. This one is a very big deal. Imagine if, due to patent restrictions, different brands of cars had not just different styling, but had to put their accelerator and brake pedals in different places, or had to use motorcycle style handgrips instead of a steering wheel.. There has been debate whether these kinds of UI elements should even be considered patentable, but the Apple-Samsung verdict says they are -- and there are an increasing number of them on the books.
- Phil Schiller up again in next round of Apple-Samsung battle
- Nokia and HTC bury hatchet in patent disputes
- How about them apples: Google and Samsung ink patent deal
- Samsung's Apple damages equal to just 16 days' profit
- Supreme Court to get software patent case
- The latest move to kill bad patents divides tech industry
- Judge refuses to stay Apple-Samsung lawsuit pending patent review
- A huge damage award looms as Apple and Samsung return to court next week
- New patent reform bill targets trolls
- Samsung won't get a retrial in 'overscroll bounce' patent fight with Apple
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts