by Tom Colohue
On Friday, August 24th, a jury judged Samsung guilty of copyright infringement, specifically concerning six patents registered to Apple. Apple's victory rewarded them with a judgement in the amount of $1.05 billion.
Since then, a lot of things have been thrown around on the internet. Rumors abound, for example, that Samsung has paid the total amount in nickels. This is easy to dispel as, to this point, no money whatsoever has been paid as part of the lawsuit.
Some financial impacts have been felt of course. By the close of business, the very same day, the first signs of a hugely dramatic turnaround began to show on the stock market. Apple's increase of $12.46 per share showed an increase of 1.879%, whereas Samsung's suffered immensely. Their loss was of 7.5%, recording a $12 billion amount knocked off of the company value. Since then however, they have managed to recover some of that initial figure.
One thing that did earn surprise was the trial itself. To quote Roy Futterman, Director of DOAR Litigation Consulting:
“I am surprised that the attorneys and the judge have allowed the jury's job to be staggeringly complicated by providing them with an elaborate verdict form and remarkably long jury instructions. In our experience working on complex patent litigation, we always advise attorneys to do everything possible to clarify the complex legal and technological issues for the jurors as a means to a favorable verdict. A simpler case with a clear verdict form would be most favorable to Apple as the plaintiff charging infringement. A complicated verdict form may lead an overwhelmed jury to check a box that leads to an invalid patent.”
In total, the jury spent just three days considering their verdict. The jury received 109 pages of instructions alone, as well as everything else to be found during a case of this style.
One point of interest would be that Velvin Hogan, the foreman for the jury that provided the verdict against Samsung, has something of a conflict of interests himself. He holds a patent of his own that can be used in both tablets and smart phones. His particular patent dates back to 2002 and includes technology relative to wireless keyboards.
This is another point that might have been over dramatised. It is well known that a jury should contain peers – people who are familiar with the patent system, as well as the technology being debated. This might be a conflict of interests if Hogan has clients on either side, but it also makes him an ideal foreman for a jury in this particular case.
Paul M. Barrett, of businessweek.com, wrote a detailed analysis on the financial impact that will be held by Samsung. In his piece, he wrote that:
“Given how popular Samsung’s and other companies’ Android devices are with consumers, it’s unlikely that major telecom carriers would limit their selection of them in the wake of the San Jose verdict.”
Also, particular to the current financial side:
“And the effect on Samsung of a possible injunction would not be cataclysmic; the devices in question are older ones and will account for less than 1.4 percent of the Korean company’s worldwide profits next year, says Mark Newman, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein who previously worked at Samsung.”
Samsung's security depends on a lot of things, but their stock market dip and the injunction in question does not spell the doom of their company.
Another thing that's come up, coming away from Apple vs Samsung, is the potential involvement of Google, and this is where Android comes into play. It is well known that Apple have additional lawsuits in the pipeline, and Google shareholders are wondering what might be coming next. It is assumed by many that Google, and Android in particular, will be the next target.
However, according to a Google statement released on the subject, the injunctions are not strictly relative to the Google software, leaving Apple with no leg to stand on should they pursue Google.
“The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don't relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office,” reported the statement in question.
The total products that Apple are requesting banned from US markets are as follows: Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 AT&T, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Droid Charge and Galaxy Prevail.
This request has not yet been discussed in depth, and a hearing has been schedules for September 20th. As such, the entire case is still up in air and, while Android might well be affected by the limitations of Samsung's future number of platforms, Google itself, the source programmer, sees no possible future lawsuit falling on the software itself.
There's been a lot going back and forth on this subject but, at the moment, all is still up in the air. Given the complexity of the legal system and the appeals process in general, there is no impending doom ready to fall on anybody's doorstep.
Thanks for reading,
Tom Colohue is a writer from Blackpool, England, recognisable for his integrative descriptive work and his cynical textual mannerisms.