Cell Phone Showdown - The Verdict

Business Advisors|Litigation Support

By Dan Riske

As elite athletes from around the world battled for the most prestigious recognition in their sports at the Olympics, in London this year, another battle for supremacy was also underway, but instead of a sports arena, these players squared off on a much different battlefield: the courtroom.

At the end of July, smartphone giants Samsung and Apple began a heated, worldwide battle regarding patent infringements. Samsung recently overtook Apple as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer; however, Apple believed this position was wrongfully acquired. Apple sued Samsung on claims that its rival cell phone maker copied design and utility patents of the iPhone and iPad in Samsung phones and tablet PCs. Samsung held that the iPhone and iPad designs were not proprietary and were developed from existing designs by other electronics manufacturers, mainly Sony.

The Verdict

After battling in the courtroom for nearly a month, a verdict was announced on August 25. Six out of the seven utility and design patents in question were deemed by the jury to have been infringed upon by Samsung. The utility patents pertain to zooming and scrolling functions, and the design patents pertain to phone shape, speaker design and icon layout.

Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages for “willful” infringements of the patents, creating the third-largest verdict in the history of U.S. patent litigation. The jury determined that the infringements were willful after examination of internal emails describing how Google requested that Samsung change its product designs in order to look less like Apple’s. In addition, certain members of Samsung’s management actually gave orders to employees to copy Apple products.

The Saga Continues

Samsung stated that it intends to appeal the case. Also, on October 2, Samsung announced that it has filed a new lawsuit against Apple claiming that the iPhone 5 infringed on its patents…

Schneider Downs provides litigation support services, including economic damages calculations and expert witness services, to small and midsize private companies. Contact Joel Rosenthal, Shareholder, if you have any questions on how we can help your business.

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