What the Apple-Samsung verdict means to you

Vendors will be forced to innovate, if only to avoid an Apple lawsuit

In one sense, the verdict against Samsung in its patent contest with Apple isnt that momentous. The damages a bit north of $1 billion are less than half of what Apple originally sought.

And that award isnt going to ruin Samsung: The Korean manufacturing giant made a profit of $US4.5 billion in the most recent June quarter, 63 percent of which came from its mobile business. So the jury award amounts to about half of one quarters mobile profit for the company. (Of course, the financial hit could wind up being bigger for Samsung: The judge has the option to triple the damages awarded to Apple.)

Furthermore, of the products that the jury found violated Apples patents, only the Nexus S 4G and the T-Mobile Galaxy S II are still being sold. Other devices in Samsung's current product line should be safe, thanks to design shifts Samsung made following the Galaxy S II.

Those shifts were most likely defensive, made to protect Samsung against lawsuits like this one, which Apple filed in April 2011. Many of the infringements that the jury cited in Fridays verdict centered on elements of the TouchWiz user-interface that for the most part are no longer used.

Innovate or pay

Fridays ruling may not be the last word on the matter, as Samsung can appeal the case. But even if the immediate impacts aren't that dramatic, the long-term consequences could be.

For one thing, the jury didn't just find that Samsung infringed Apples patents. It declared that Apples patents are valid. That, in turn, should put Samsung and other smartphone makers on notice: Steer well clear of anything resembling an Apple design.

Apple has already made a big statement, because they aren't just going after Samsung, said industry analyst Tim Bajarin. At the very least, Samsung and other vendors are going to have to think twice about things like icons and other design elements. Google has to be very concerned about this.

Garnter analyst Michael Gartenberg struck a similar note in a post-verdict tweet: Larger implications will be for other vendors who will have to carefully look at their designs post verdict, he wrote.

But that may turn out to be a good thing: Vendors will be forced to innovate, if only to avoid an Apple lawsuit.

Hopefully, consumers win in the long run, said Bajarin, because the Samsungs and HTCs of the world will have to become more creative.

Apple patents being upheld will force industry toward innovation and differentiation, Gartenberg agreed. Thats not a bad thing.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Miller

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?