Jury decides in Apple's favor, Samsung hit with $1B damages

Samsung violated several of Apple's design and technology patents, a jury has found

Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion for infringing several of its patents in Samsung smartphones and tablets, a California District Court jury decided on Friday.

The verdict ending a landmark trial between the two companies is a complex one, involving numerous products and company subsidiaries. But in most instances the jury found products of the Korean company and two of its U.S. subsidiaries infringed Apple's patents.

The verdict can be seen overall as a big win for Apple, although the Cupertino-based maker of the iPhone and iPad was awarded less than half of the $2.75 billion in damages it was seeking.

Immediately following the reading of the verdict, the court went into recess to allow lawyers to review the verdict and raise any questions they have before the jury is dismissed.

David Steel, executive vice president of strategy for Samsung Electronics America, was sitting in court to hear the verdict, ticking off the jury's findings one by one. He ignored a reporter's request for comment as the court went into recess and left the courtroom.

Samsung later said in a statement, "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 Apples claims."

The complex case included several claims by Samsung that Apple had infringed on its patents, but the jury found none of those claims to be valid.

"Zero," the jury forewoman said when reading out the damages Samsung would get from Apple.

The verdict was read out before a packed courtroom of reporters, attorneys and other observers. Because of its complexity, Samsung's lawyers asked the judge to keep the jury in the courtroom for 30 minutes after the verdict was read out, to sort out any possible inconsistencies in their decision.

When the court reconvened, two apparent errors were raised. Both concerned damages awarded for products that were not found to have infringed Apple's patents. They amounted to a little over $2 million, however, so made barely a dent in the total award.

The verdict came in after the nine-person jury at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, had been deliberating for less than three days. That was faster than many observers had expected, given the number of issues the jury had to decide on.

The verdict form included some 700 questions, related to various products and company subsidiaries.

Apple and Samsung have been fighting the closely watched battle since early last year, when Apple accused Samsung of violating a handful of its design and technology patents related to the iPhone. Samsung shot back soon after, saying Apple had violated some of its own technology patents.

Observers had expected the jury to deliberate for longer. They had not asked a single clarification question since they began their deliberations Wednesday morning. On Thursday they asked to extend their deliberations by an extra hour each day, which some thought to be a sign that they thought they would need a lot of time to reach their verdict. In hindsight, they may simply have wanted to get their work finished before the weekend.

In related legal news, the U.S. International Trade Commission also found largely in Apple's favor Friday, saying that it had not violated three patents in a complaint filed by Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility. That left one Motorola patent, for a sensor-controlled UI, that it sent back to a judge for investigation.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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