Apple triumphs over Samsung in landmark patent case

Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:01pm EDT
 
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By Gerry Shih and Dan Levine

SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - Apple Inc scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung on Friday as a U.S. jury found the Korean company had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarded the U.S. company $1.05 billion in damages.

The verdict -- which came after less than three days of jury deliberations -- could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products and will likely solidify Apple's dominance of the exploding mobile computing market.

Apple's victory is a big blow to Google, whose Android software powers the Samsung products that were found to infringe on Apple patents. Google and its hardware partners, including the company's own Motorola unit, could now face further legal hurdles in their effort to compete with the Apple juggernaut.

Samsung lawyers were grimfaced in the quiet but crowded San Jose courtroom as the verdict was read, and the company later put out a statement calling the outcome "a loss for the American consumer."

The jury deliberated for less than three days before delivering the verdict on seven Apple patent claims and five Samsung patent claims -- suggesting that the nine-person panel had little difficulty in concluding that Samsung had copied the iPhone and the iPad.

Because the panel found "willful" infringement, Apple could seek triple damages.

Apple upended the mobile phone business when it introduced the iPhone in 2007, and shook the industry again in 2010 when it rolled out the iPad.

It has been able to charge premium prices for the iPhone -- with profit margins of as much as 58 percent per phone -- for a product consumers regarded as a huge advance in design and usability.   Continued...

 
An employee poses as he holds Apple's iPhone 4s (L) and Samsung's Galaxy S III at a store in Seoul August 24, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won