Smartphone Verdict Suggests Changes Ahead
If mobile shopping is the wave of the future for retailing, a landmark verdict last week could reshape how mobile tools — smartphones and tablets — look, work and are priced down the road.
A federal jury in San Jose, CA, awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages from Samsung for infringing on just six patents. According to reports, Samsung infringed on Apple’s so-called "pinch and zoom" patent, or the ability to make text on a touchscreen bigger by moving one’s fingers outward; as well as its ‘bounce’ patent, or the way the image onscreen bounces back when it is dragged with a finger to the edge of the device. The bigger surprise was the finding that Samsung infringed on three of the four design patents, including the icon setup and the shape of a tablet computer: a rectangle with rounded corners.
Samsung promised to appeal and continue similar actions in courts around the world.
"Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer," Samsung wrote in a statement. "It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices."
Various analysis of the outcome predicted ongoing litigation that could still take years to resolve. But many patent experts and technology followers also stated that competitors will likely be more apprehensive over copying Apple’s "look and feel" to avoid getting sued.
"This ruling sends a message to all the handset makers that you have to make truly differentiated products that look different," Colleen Chien, an assistant professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, told the New York Times.
Apple is expected to now go after other companies for similar software infringements, particularly Android maker Google and its hardware partners. In the second quarter, Android phones — made by many phone makers — represented 68 percent of smartphone shipments, while Apple’s represented 17 percent, according to market research firm IDC.
For consumers, no recalls of Samsung smartphones are expected but an upgrade may remove some Apple-like features. Costs may likely rise due to the mounting legal expenses and possibly subsequent licensing deals. Reuters speculated that, based on the damages in the case, Samsung may eventually agree to pay Apple $10 per device in a cross-licensing deal to borrow some key features.
On the brighter side, some believe the verdict may spur a round of innovation as many seek fresh ways to avoid copycatting and perhaps one-up Apple’s designs and features.
- Apple-Samsung Case Shows Smartphone as Legal Magnet – New York Times
- What the Apple-Samsung verdict means for your smartphone – CNN/Money
- Apple prevails over Samsung in high-stakes patent trial, will get $1 billion – Los Angeles Times
- Apple Wins Big in Patent Case – Wall Street Journal
- Samsung Looks to Damage Control as Patent Bet Turns Bad – Wall Street Journal
- Analysis: Sweeping Apple win, but Samsung set for bounce-back – Reuters/Chicago Tribune
- What the Apple-Samsung verdict means to you – MacWorld
How may the Apple/Samsung patent verdict affect the development of mobile shopping from a positive or negative standpoint? What would be the ideal outcome?