We're going to be tuning away from our regularly scheduled Windows Phone news to talk about one of mobile's biggest lawsuits ever. Apple v. Samsung has been a legal clash of the titans, and it's dominated most of the non-Microsoft news for the past two months.
If this is news to you, we'll bring you up to speed: Apple sued Samsung for violating several patents as well as the trade dress of their iPhone models (meaning the 'look and feel' of the product). In retaliation, Samsung hit Apple back with their own patent infringement claims. Fast forward to today, where it was up to the 9-person jury to decide the verdict after the two corporations failed to agree on a settlement.
The verdict? Samsung owes Apple, big time.
According to reports from the hearing, Samsung has been found guilty for infringement of the software patents in question, which the jury felt was present in nearly all of the 21 Samsung phones involved in the court case (including the Galaxy S and S II variants sold in the United States). The jury also determined that the company violated Apple's trade dress, while the defensive suit against Apple from Samsung did not award them any damages. So in a nutshell, Apple won everything in the case and Samsung now has to cough up more than $1.05 billion in damages.
This is a huge victory for Apple, but more importantly a big blow to Android. We already know that Apple and Microsoft have pursued manufacturers to pay for patent licenses over their use of Android, since the two companies claim (and have since proven) that the software infringes some of their oldest patented ideas and technologies. With Samsung losing this case, it means that the largest phone manufacturer in the world has to pay one of their nearest competitors a significant chunk of money. But it also means that Samsung will most likely have to avoid infringing upon these patents in future products, which isn't going to be easy.
When you're faced with a choice between billion dollar lawsuits versus building new types of phones from a different software maker, the smart choice comes to light.With the patents covering important software like pinch-to-zoom and scrolling behavior, it could set into motion more lawsuits against other Android manufacturers. As BGR points out, it could be a killing blow for the weaker mobile players like HTC and LG...
Which is exactly why this victory could be equally important for Microsoft and Windows Phone. I've already discussed at length why Microsoft's patent claims against Android are also working to give Windows Phone more momentum. The fact of the matter is that besides Android, there's no other viable alternative for these manufacturers to go to except Windows Phone. When you're faced with a choice between billion dollar lawsuits versus building new types of phones from a different software maker, the smart choice comes to light. We'll just have to wait and see if this means more manufacturers are going to come out and push harder with Windows Phone over the coming months.
Source: BGR, Engadget 1, 2