Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stood vindicated on Friday when a nine-member jury in a San Jose federal court, awarded it more than a billion dollars in damages, holding Samsung Electronics Co guilty of having violated six of seven Apple patents under dispute in the trial.
The verdict came at the end of a three-week long court battle, with both sides trading charges and bringing in startling evidence to support their contentions. It had stated off with Apple suing Samsung i April 2011, accusing it of copying the designs of its iPhones and iPads and using that to build its Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets.
At stake is the fast-growing smartphone segment valued at more than $200 billion. Samsung has raced ahead of Apple in the sale of smartphones riding on the popularity of Google's Android operating system.
Apple is engaged in patents disputes with other handset manufacturers as well including HTC and LG Electronics, as it seeks to discourage other companies from making clones of its phones.
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“This is a big win for Apple,” Carl Howe of Yankee Group told Bloomberg. “It’s good for innovation. It says that if you create something new, others can’t just piggyback on it. From a competition point of view, it says create your own stuff. It says copying is not OK.”
While in the initial instance it may seem like there may be fewer choices for customers, in the long run it will create more room for innovation and original thinking as companies will be less inclined to try and copy from others.
Now Apple is waiting for a verdict from Judge Lucy Koh who will decide whether Samsung smartphones and tablets should be banned in the United States, which i the biggest market of both companies.
The verdict is a huge setback for Samsung, which has said that it would appeal the verdict. The jury found no merit in the Korean company's claims that Apple had infringed on its wireless technologies patents and also threw out its $400 million claim of damages against Apple.