A federal jury has handed a massive win to Apple in the company’s epic patent battle with Samsung. The jury decided that most of Samsung’s accused products violated several of Apple’s patents, and sided with Apple on claims ranging from trade dress to infringement on utility patents.
The jury decided in favor of Apple on all infringement claims by Samsung, apparently based on exhaustion. In other words, the jury decided that Apple has not infringed on Samsung’s standards-essential patents, despite the fact that Apple’s iPhone can’t do its job as a phone without using technologies covered by some of those patents.
It appears that this decision was based on the principal of exhaustion, meaning that Samsung had already been paid for its standards-essential patents through the patent licenses owned by the companies who made the components Apple purchased to supply wireless functions.
To summarize: Samsung infringed left and right on Apple’s utility patents, design patents, and trade dress. Not all products were found to infringe, but most did. At the same time, the jury decided that Apple infringed on none of Samsung’s patents. None. At all.
Also, only one of Apple’s patent was found not to be infringed—the ‘889 design patent that Apple accused Samsung of infringing with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. We’re working up separate coverage of this issue, as it is a complex one.
The jury awarded Apple more than $1.05 billion in damages, while awarding Samsung nothing. This is less than the $2.5 billion that Apple had asked for, but it’s a staggeringly large award. That amount might or might not be trebled—we’re awaiting clarification on the issue.
Interestingly, some of Samsung’s devices such as the Nexus S 4G that were found not to infringe on some counts, were roped back in and found to infringe under the charge of inducement.
A rough explanation for “inducement” is that while specific infringement may not have occurred, Samsung was found guilty of setting up conditions that caused infringement to occur.
Hypothetically speaking, the jury is saying that while this or that feature didn’t specifically exist, Samsung deliberately put those features in an environment where the remaining features existed and/or where it knew other parties (e.g., users, or say, carriers) would have the tools to activate an inducing feature knowing full well that the result would infringe on Apple’s patents.
This aspect of the ruling could mean that Google should be concerned regarding Android’s infringement of Apple’s patents in general as an inducing component of infringement across the industry. This could be a very real—and to Google’s lawyers, a very scary—shot across the bow. This could perhaps place a dark shadow over Google’s legal team.