Samsung Escapes Meaningful Punishment in Apple Patent Case Vicki Behringer

Samsung Escapes Meaningful Punishment in Apple Patent Case

A surprisingly low damages award for Apple

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, a federal jury on Friday found Samsung liable for just $119.6 million in damages in a closely-watched patent infringement case. Samsung was found to have infringed on two of the five patents in question, and though the company ostensibly lost this case, the relatively small award is a major victory: Apple had been seeking $2.2 billion in damages.

Samsung was found guilty of infringing on Apple patents related to "data detectors" (links that can be tapped to launch other apps) and autocorrect. But it was found not guilty of infringing on Apple patents related to web search and data synchronization. A fifth patent for "slide to unlock" was mixed: Samsung was found to have infringed on the patent with only some of its devices.

Apple was also ordered to pay Samsung $158,400 because its iPhone and iPod products infringe on a single Samsung patent related to video chat. Samsung had sought damages on two of its patents, but Apple was found not guilty of infringing on a patent for recording and storing digital images.

The jury deliberated for three days after a four-week trial in which Apple again accused Samsung of outright product copying, while Samsung claimed that it could not be held liable for patents that Apple doesn't even use in the contested products. The firms had faced off in court previously, with Samsung ultimately being found liable for a far more stunning $929 million. Samsung is appealing that verdict.

But because this second trial is concerned with newer versions of products from both companies, the stakes were presumably higher, and many speculated that Apple would again win a major award. But that hasn't happened, and legal experts are describing the ruling as a mixed verdict for Apple.

In the wake of the first trial, Apple failed to secure an injunction that would have prevented Samsung from selling its infringing products in the United States until changes were made. Given this precedence, it's unlikely that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will agree to an injunction this time around either.

But regardless of the outcome, Samsung can at least be counted on to appeal this verdict as well: While there is little doubt that Samsung's handsets and tablets were heavily influenced by Apple's iPhone and iPad products, the firm has effectively cast Apple as a bully that is more intent on curbing competition than continuing to innovate. And it demonstrated that Apple didn't even use some of the patent technologies over which Apple is suing.

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