The Samsung Galaxy Note tablet (AP)
San Jose, CA (written by Scott Martin and John Swartz/USA Today)
A federal jury in San Jose late Friday ruled that Samsung infringed on multiple Apple patents, awarding the Cupertino, Calif., maker of the iPhone and iPad more than $1 billion in damages and rewriting the rules for mobile technology patent disputes.
Apple shares rose 1.8% to $675.04 in after-hours trading after the news.
The $1.05 billion in damages is the largest surviving verdict in patent history. Two larger verdicts were reversed, according to Stanford University law professor Mark Lemley.
"It's a huge win for Apple," says Lemley, who specializes in technology. "But this is one lawsuit among 50 in the smartphone market, and Apple's real target may be the Android ecosystem."
Apple's nearly clean sweep is likely to blunt momentum for Samsung - which recently passed Apple as the world's largest seller of smartphones - and will probably force it to redesign its mobile devices, Lemley says.
The bigger question is whether Apple's resounding victory "scares off" Google-Motorola and others in the smartphone wars, he says.
Jurors found that on the screen bounce-back patent, Samsung infringed on all phones and tablets. On patent 915, pinch and zoom, the jury found Samsung infringed with all but three devices.
Samsung violated the design patent for the front of the iPhone for all but one phone, according to the jury. On the home screen patent, Samsung violated with all phones, the jury found. Samsung did not violate one particular Apple iPad patent that covers its design, the jury found.
Samsung said in a statement: "Today's verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer."
After the verdicts were read, the judge sent the jury back to deliberate further on two inconsistencies involving about $2.5 million in damages awarded to Apple based on products jurors found didn't infringe Apple's patents. Those deliberations were continuing.
The technology titans battled for more than three weeks in court over allegations that Samsung copied Apple's mobile device designs and software.
"If Apple patents are upheld long-term, it will force the industry toward innovation and differentiation," says Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg. "That's not a bad thing for the market and for consumers."
U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh presided over the San Jose courtroom. Last month, she awarded Apple a preliminary injunction that could force Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer from stores pending the outcome of the trial.
"I think she's going to grant an injunction and a fairly broad one," says Lemley, indicating Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 could be yanked from the market.
Apple presented hundreds of pages of documents, as well as the testimony of scientists, executives and engineers, to support its claims that its iPad and iPhone were being copied by Samsung.
Apple wanted products pulled and $2.5 billion in damages.
In closing arguments on Tuesday, Apple attorney Harold McElhinny alleged that Samsung documents show that in three months, it was able to copy four years of Apple development. He said they show "hundreds of pages of copying directions" for icon design and functions such as tap-to-zoom that were put into the Galaxy phone and tablet line.
He also said Samsung met with Google, which advised the company to change Galaxy designs, but Samsung declined.
"The damages in this case should be large, because the infringement was massive," McElhinny said.
Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven, in closing, shot back that the documents don't show what Apple claims. "It's a shell game for counsel trying to mislead you," he said. "They have to prove to you with their evidence that consumers will be deceived, there's a likelihood of deception. This doesn't meet the burden of proof."
Much is at stake over patents that cover Apple's graphic user interface patents for touch screen functionality. Samsung, in effect, serves as a proxy for Google because the search giant's Android software powers the Samsung devices in question. The outcome could have implications for patent cases worldwide and for other makers of Android-powered devices.
Samsung was seeking royalties for specific wireless technologies used by Apple.