Apple prevails over Samsung in high-stakes patent trial, will get $1 billion

A sign directs jurors to the trial between Apple and Samsung in federal court in San Jose last month.
(Andrea Chang / Los Angeles Times)
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SAN JOSE -- A federal jury has sided with Apple over rival Samsung in a massive patent infringement trial between the two tech heavyweights and has awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages.

The nine-member jury accepted most of Apple’s claims that Samsung copied the look and feel of its iPhone to roll out its own line of smartphones.

The decision is in the process of being read by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in a packed federal courtroom in San Jose.


The jury found all of Apple’s patents to be valid and said Samsung “willfully” infringed on many of them.

According to reports from the courthouse, as of 4 p.m. Pacific the jury found that Samsung infringed on Apple’s so-called “pinch and zoom” patent, or the ability to make text on a touchscreen bigger by moving one’s fingers outward; as well as its bounce-back patent, or the way the image onscreen bounces back when it is dragged with a finger to the edge of the device.

The speed of the decision, reached after a four-week trial and less than three days of deliberations, came as a surprise to media and technology experts, who had predicted that a verdict wouldn’t be reached before next week at earliest. During the deliberations, the jury never sent out a question or note through the bailiff.

Samsung was awarded $0 in damages and is expected to file an appeal. There is no word yet on possible product bans.

Lawyers for both sides still need to review the lengthy 20-page verdict form. Koh said that once the process is done, jurors and lawyers who want to speak to the media can do so outside the courthouse gates.

Apple and Samsung have been lobbing patent-infringement claims against each other for months as the they compete in the fast-growing mobile device industry. The U.S. case is just one piece in a global battle between the two rivals.


The stakes were so high because of the booming smartphone industry, estimated by Bloomberg to be worth $219.1 billion.

Apple and Samsung are the world’s two largest smartphone makers. Even as Apple’s products have developed a rapid fan base, Samsung has become its main competitor in the space, releasing popular products such as the Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets.

In the U.S. trial, Apple has accused its rival of “slavishly” copying many aspects of its mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad, and was seeking $2.5 billion in damages for what it called “irreparable harm” to its business.

In its testimony, Apple lawyers showed the jury images of thick, boxy smartphones that Samsung made before Apple’s iPhone came out, as well as images of its more recent smartphones featuring touchscreens and rounded corners. They argued it was no coincidence that Samsung’s smartphones began to resemble the iPhone.

Samsung argued that it did not steal ideas from Apple, saying it already had touchscreen devices with rounded corners in development before the 2007 introduction of the iPhone. It also accused Apple of infringing on its technology patents.

The trial saw both sides calling up a parade of gadget designers and patent experts as witnesses. Since the case was filed in April 2011, both sides have been ordered to try to reach a settlement; the chief executives were talking as recently as Monday, but no agreement was reached.


All told, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple and South Korea-based Samsung have brought more than 50 lawsuits against each other in 10 countries on four continents. Technology experts expect a drawn-out legal fight and say the overall resolution could reshape how tech gadgets are made.


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