I’m not so sure about you guys, but I am still sort of shocked with the out of the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit. If anything, I expected it to turn out much like the Southern Korea lawsuit where both companies were found to be at fault. It’s only obvious that Apple was infringing on some of Samsung’s wireless technology patents after the outcome of the Korean lawsuit, but apparently that had no effect on what the U.S ruling was. I’m sure a lot of you, like me, would love to know what was going on down there that had ultimately cost Samsung more than a billion dollars along with twelve billion dollars in lost market shares. Thankfully we don’t have to go down there and give the jurors an ear full as one of the 9 jury members by the name of Manuel Ilagan has stepped forward. He’s provided us with a lot of insight as to what was exactly talked about and why they decided to give Apple such a one sided victory over the Korean tech giant, Samsung Electronics.
According Ilagan, “We found for Apple because of the evidence they presented. It was clear there was infringement.” That one statement on its own ultimately tells us that Samsung Electronics has absolutely no chance in the battle right off the bat. Ilagan also provided what he, and some of the other jurors, thought were the final evidence against Samsung that caused their downfall in the lawsuit:
“Well, there were several. The e-mails that went back and forth from Samsung execs about the Apple features that they should incorporate into their devices was pretty damning to me. And also, on the last day, they showed the pictures of the phones that Samsung made before the iPhone came out and ones that they made after the iPhone came out. Some of the Samsung executives they presented on video [testimony] from Korea — I thought they were dodging the questions. They didn’t answer one of them. They didn’t help their cause.”
Ilagan also noted that a licensing deal that Samsung had with Intel put even more votes on the Apple side of things:
“Samsung’s offensive on Apple that claimed Apple violated two of its patents relating to 3G wireless technology. One patent involved the baseband chip in the iPhone and iPad with 3G. During the trial, Apple turned around and pointed to a licensing deal Samsung had with Intel, which made the chips Apple used. Under that deal, Apple said, Samsung was not able to sue any companies Intel sold to. Apple then presented the receipts from when it purchased the accused chips from Intel.”
According to Ilagan, it only took the 9 members of the jury the first day to determine whether or not Samsung had indeed infringed on several of Apple’s many patent claims. “We were debating heavily, especially about the patents on bounce-back and pinch-to-zoom. Apple said they owned patents, but we were debating about the prior art [the same technology that Samsung said had existed before Apple launched the iPhone],” Ilagan said.
It’s very easy to assume that the jury made a haste decision due to how fast they went through all of the evidence, but Iligan claimed that every juror had taken the job very seriously and that they were not impatient. According to him, “We wanted to do the right thing, and not skip any evidence. I think we were thorough.”
Ilagan continued on saying that Samsung violated Apple’s “trade dress.”
“Once you determine that Samsung violated the patents, it’s easy to just go down those different [Samsung] products, because it was all the same. Like the trade dress — once you determine Samsung violated the trade dress, the flat screen with the Bezel…then you go down the products to see if it had a bezel. But we took our time. We didn’t rush. We had a debate before we made a decision. Sometimes it was getting heated.”
This part you can imagine was quite frustrating because in all seriousness, what smartphone in today’s world does not have a “flat screen and bezel?” Are we supposed to come up with circular shaped screens or something? There really is not other way to make a smartphone with the current technology we have today. Sure, there are people working on it, but there isn’t another way. It would be like if you went to patent a card with four wheels. Would there be any other way to make a car? Either way, you can’t really blame the decision the jurors chose, they were just simply dealing with the cards they had been dealt and decided accordingly. Apple owns the patents, there is no doubt about that. Thus the members of the jury were ultimately forced to enforce those patents with the evidence that had been brought to the courtroom. The blame really belongs with the USPTO and their very heavily broken patent system.
Another thing that Ilagan and some of the other jurors had a problem with was addressing the issue of an unregistered trade dress and Ilagan explains it clearly:
“We were debating the unregistered trade dress claims. That took a while because some of the guys wanted to give protection to round corners, the icons, and rectangles, but they were not registered. So, some of the jurors said ‘Why are we playing patent office? We’re not the patent office. Its not even registered.’ And some of the jurors, when you look at the combination of those features, said it looks like an Apple. But we didn’t want to shut out Samsung from the market because we thought ‘OK, well, if Apple had tried to get a patent for all that stuff and didn’t, so now they wanted us to be the ones to get it for them. We didn’t want to do that.”
It’s very clear as to what the members of the jury was referring to was Samsung’s first generation of their Galaxy S lineup. That phone, I think we can all agree with, is very clear that it was ripped off of the iPhone 3GS, and the jurors had also realized that. From both the shape and icons, it was fairly easy to realize even for the untrained eye, as to where Samsung was able to get the design for the Galaxy S phone from. While this was a terrible move on their part, I didn’t find their future generations to be a complete blatant ripoff.
With everything being very one-sided towards Apple, the jurors had still thought the the whopping $2.75 billion that Apple had asked for in their supposed “damages and lost sales” was extremely too high. The jurors noted that they wanted Samsung to feel the punishment, but a the same time they didn’t want to cripple the company at the same time. That said, the jury felt that $1.05 billion was an adequate amount to deal out.
Ilagan along with the rest of the jury had strongly felt that this wouldn’t cripple Samsung too much and they all knew due to the success of Samsung’s products that they would be able to recover from this. According to the jury, “I’m sure Samsung can recover and do their own designs. There are other ways to design a phone. What was happening was that the appearance [of Samsung’s phone] was their downfall. You copied the appearance…. Nokia is still selling phones. BlackBerry is selling phones. Those phones aren’t infringing. There are alternatives out there.”
Based off of what the jury had to actually say, how well did you think they handled this case? Was Samsung actually given a decent shot at winning the lawsuit, or do you think that the jury should have looked at things a bit more thoroughly and they supposedly did? Based off of this news, you can’t blame the jury’s decision. While I do think that Samsung’s wireless technologies were indeed infringed upon, I will say that the Jury did give Samsung a good shot at it in my opinion. While it was obvious that Samsung had no shot at winning the case from the beginning, I really did want them to win due to the innovation-killer known as Apple. But alas, the facts were laid out clearly and the jury had no choice other than to side with Apple due to the patents they owned and the evidence that they brought into the courtroom.
If anyone is to blame in this case, we should all be shaking our fists angrily at the USPTO for giving Apple some of these most ridiculous of patents to begin with. I mean, tap to zoom? Who would seriously patent such a natural gesture? It just seems so odd that Apple would patent something like that, it just goes to show that they may just be the innovation killer in today’s world of technology.
Do you have any comments or opinions as to what happened in the court this past week? Let us know in the comments below, I personally would love to hear your opinion on all of this insanity.
source: Talk Android