Apple came out on top this afternoon in its landmark patent battle with Samsung, as a jury in California awarded the iPhone maker more than $1 billion in damages — largely agreeing that many of Samsung’s Android-based devices violate Apple’s patents.

The news is being well-received in Redmond, where Microsoft’s Windows Phone team has taken a decidedly different approach to its user interface, with a tile-based UI that has also been adopted by Xbox and Windows 8.

An appeal by Samsung is widely expected, and a settlement is still possible in the form of a licensing agreement between the companies.

But regardless of the ultimate outcome, the verdict could put pressure on Google and makers of Android devices to take a different approach to their products, to avoid infringing on Apple’s design patents.

The fact that Microsoft has already distinguished its interface gives it a competitive advantage in that regard. Windows Phone has single-digit market share, but Microsoft is hoping to become a viable No. 3, at least, behind Android and iPhone, in mobile operating systems.

During the trial, Apple patent executive Boris Teksler cited Microsoft as an exception to Apple’s normal practice of declining to license its design patents to other companies, saying that a patent cross-licensing deal between Microsoft and Apple includes some of the same types of patents in dispute in the Samsung case. However, the Apple-Microsoft agreement includes a provision that prevents “cloning,” the executive said.

On its face, the verdict today is posthumous vindication for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who described Android as a “stolen product” and vowed to “destroy” it.

See the Wall Street Journal, CNet and The Verge for coverage of the verdict.

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  • guest

    First, the lawsuit had zero to do with Android v. iOS, so, the posthumous vindication is a premature.

    Also, let’s not overlook yesterday’s verdict in Korea that skewed in favour of Samsung. Anyone who thinks there is not Nationalism being played-out on BOTH sides of the great sea is being slightly less than honest.

    Finally, this decision means jack-. Really, Apple pay Samsung over $10B/annually for parts. The decision was less than 1/2 of what Apple sought. The iPad trade dress issue went in Samsung’s favor and the other issues are on old, dated devices – NOTHING going forward.

    So, will Microsoft get a bump from this?


    They’ll have to claw their way into the market (which they may be able to do). But, this verdict and an eventual Appeal (though, Samsung need a new legal team) mean absolutely nothing, to anyone, except to the fans in the cheap seats.

    • JohnDoey

      The jury found the infringement was willful, which means the damages triple.

      Samsung will not be getting money for parts from Apple much longer. Like Google, they are already being phased out.

      The South Korea verdict banned all of these old products. Disn’t hurt Apple at all. They no longer sell those phones.

      Nobody looks at an iPhone or iPad and says “that is just a copy of Samsung” because Samsung is a generic parts maker that never designed anything. The Samsung brand was just trashed by what came out in court — Samsung just blatantly cloning away. Their defense that it was actually Aamsung that invented iPhone (they really said that) only made them even more of a laughing stock.

      There is no good news for Samsung ere.

      For Android, this is the last nail in the coffin. It is sealed up now. None of the dreams of an Apple-free iPhone where nerds and advertisers can victimize consumers freely are coming to pass. There is just The Best Feature Phone OS Ever Stolen. Google just copied other people’s work and gave it away so that the value of software would be reduced and phones would have to be supported by ads. That is illegal in many ways and everyone who uses Android (phone makers, carriers, etc.) have exposed themselves to huge liability because they didn’t realize what they were getting. Google counted on Apple and Sun (now Oracle) being hippies and not suing. Wrong. Also they were wrong that running a platform is easy and they screwed it up so bad that Android is overrun by viruses and other malware.

      Total mess. There is nothing to salvae from Android. What little they built that was original was sitting on mountains of stolen work.

      • AyaisMUsikWhore

        What exactly from Google is copied from Apple? Because it think you got touchwiz mixed up with Android. Touchwiz, Samsungs vers., is called out for infringment. ICS and Jellybean are nothing like iOS, don’t even work the same. The only thing that seperates Android and iOS is the broad “Pinch to zoom” and “Tap to zoom” patent. That is the only thing Apple has against Android.

      • guest

        Yawn. Are you at least getting paid by Apple to shill for them?

      • Chris Os

        great post, spoken by someone who knows what they are talking about

      • KnightWatchman

        You realize this isn’t about Android UI, but Samsung’s UI overlay..right?

  • Guest

    Today’s ruling is an affirmation: inventors rule and imitators shall be punished. Innovators the world over shall cheer.

    • guest 2

      Obviously, you failed to read about the Apple/Samsung verdict in KOREA just yesterday? Where Apple products are now being banned from import.

      Cultural and legal perspectives vary around the World. Here in the States, we tend to forget that, believing we are the epitome of All-that-is-Right.

      Let’s be clear, Patent Law is purely government protection of a monopoly. Patent trolls are some of the worst of the bunch when it comes to promoting “innovation.”

      Today’s U.S. ruling is pure theater. Not much more than that. Let’s not forget, Apple pay Samsung nearly $4 billion every 3 months to buy parts that go into Apple product. It’s a symbiotic relationship and neither side is REALLY going to screw that up.

      • JohnDoey

        Both Apple and Samsung products were just banned in Korea, but all old products that neither company sells today. The Korea verdict is a political stunt. No teeth and no merit.

        Small children can see that Samsung’s 2010 phones were too much like Apple’s 2007–2010 phones. It’s as simple as if Ford released a Corvette. Maybe you came late to this and don’t remember that happening. In 2010 we saw iPhones that for some reason were Samsung-branded and said WTF? That is it. The gut has spoken. There has to be some remedy when your product evokes a visceral gut reaction from people who see it. Even Google told Samsung WTF?

        • guest44

          It’s interesting you believe the Korean verdict is a “stunt,” when in fact it levied a decision against both parties (sounds a bit more fair and balanced; certainly, not a “stunt.”).

          It would be interesting if someone chimed in on what the Korean law practice is? Is it 10-12 citizens in a room who have no experience with technology and patents making decisions? Or, is there some expertise and evaluation at a more refined level?

          I’m befuddled as to how anyone could objectively determine that Apple was financially damaged by Samsung? Apple have had 5 tremendous years of growth, almost unsurpassed by any company. If Samsung didn’t release their line of phones would Apple have done even better? Or, would Apple have risked Anti-Trust legislation requiring it to divest part of it’s Silo (i.e. sell of iTunes)? Hard to say.

        • guest

          “Small children can see that Samsung’s 2010 phones were too much like Apple’s 2007–2010 phones”
          Small children with as yet undeveloped minds might see that, but intelligent adults with fully developed critical reasoning skills can review the Samsung lineup pre and post iPhone and see that little changed radically; it mostly just evolved from earlier designs. Or they can look more specifically at the F700 and fact that Samsung registered this design before the iPhone was announced, making it clear they had already independently developed what people like yourself now claim is the unique iPhone design. Indeed, it’s telling that Apple originally included the F700 in its complaint only to later drop it when even they realized it predated their iPhone announcement. And there are earlier irrefutable examples of prior art. The LG Prada phone, for example, which was shown publicly as a concept in advance of iPhone and only the most blind fanboy would argue didn’t subsequently at least inspire Apple’s designers.

    • Guest

      No, it’s affirmaton that if you’re as litigious as Apple is, can afford the very best lawyers, and through brilliant marketing have established a reputation for “innovation” that goes far beyond anything you’ve actually ever created, you too can convince a local court that you invented something, even when there’s irrefutable proof that numerous people did it before you. That’s chilling, not laudable.

  • JohnDoey

    Microsoft was also hurt by Samsung’s copying. Instead of the alternative to iPhone being a Windows Phone, the alternative has been a generic iPhone clone. A lot
    of energy around Android came because people thought Android would continue to copy Apple year after year and would create the kind of ecosystem that Apple has. Microsoft has a chance of building an alternative ecosystem that appeals in its own way to its own audience of 45 year old gamers. (I kid.)

  • guest

    I wouldn’t call it a win for anyone other than Apple. It certainly isn’t a win for consumers because calling the earlier iPhone hardware design unique is laughable. Boy Genius, for example, had a chart up showing numerous phones which predate iPhone but look visually similar. But it probably assists MS indirectly since some of this ruling touches on Android as well, which should add more ammo to MS’s ongoing fud campaign with OEMs and most of those guys can’t afford $1b penalities as easily as Samsung can.

    • D

      LOL Consumers never Win where have you been the last 30+ years

  • Brent Frei

    Apple – Samsung Verdict Results
    Here’s a possibly useful condensation of the Apple – Samsung results:

  • D

    LOL you do realize Microsoft is next.. without Steve around I think Microsoft is in the crosshairs.

    • guest

      Doubtful – MS plays by the rules. I don’t think any of the players here really like the US patent laws, but they are what they are. Microsoft and Apple are following US laws in their business practices, Samsung and Google can whine about it but do they really think they should be allowed to play by a different set of rules? If you don’t like the current laws then lobby to have them changed, but don’t complain when you get caught breaking them.

  • guest

    A sad statement on how badly MS has botched mobile, including WP (which was meant to get MS back into the fight after a ridiculous three year delay responding to iPhone_v1), that we have to examine the misc fallout from the market leaders and infer potential granules of future success for MS. This was a big win for Apple, obviously. It was a major legal loss for Samsung but relatively unimportant in the larger scheme of things. It won’t affect them operationally very much and they’ll continue to eat Apple’s lunch in the market, as they have been (making them virtually unique, which is why Apple is so scared of them). It’s a bit more serious for Google since they were assisting Samsung behind the scenes and obviously have a broader concern about the outcome. Some are arguing that this was mostly to do with Samsung’s own software layer and hardware design. But many are going to look at this and say “If Samsung + Google couldn’t prevail, what chance does some lesser Android OEM have?”. MS remains where it was: barely registering in share and totally dependent on a Nokia comeback to change that.

    IIRC, Ballmer was board-tasked with improving MS’s [already] pathetic position in mobile and other form factors [aka tablets] at least two and perhaps even three years ago. How much progress has he made since? Oh right, zero; share in both has actually declined. When a board tasks a CEO with remediating a problem that occurred on his/her watch and they fail to do so even years later, what normally happens? Oh right, they get fired. So why hasn’t that happened at MS?

  • karlj324

    Apple has become the very thing it raged against in the 1980’s and 90’s a monopolistic bully.

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