After a highly complex trial lasting a month, a San Francisco jury ruled today -- after just two days of deliberation -- that Samsung willfully infringed on Apple's design patents. The jury also upheld the validity of the Apple patents, which Samsung claimed were invalid while claiming it nonetheless did not infringe them. In its lawsuit, Apple sought $2.52 billion in penalties from Samsung, and the jury recommended a penalty for damages of $1.05 billion. Because the jury found the infringement was willful, federal Judge Lucy Koh could triple that amount when she decides the final damages amount in a later hearing.
The specific devices the jury said infringe Apple's design patents on the iPhone or iPad include the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, the original 7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet, the Galaxy S II smartphone, and the Nexus S smartphone. Other devices were found not to infringe those patents, including the Epic 4G, Captivate, and Fascinate smartphones. The jury also found that Apple infringed on none of the patents that Samsung claimed Apple violated. Samsung is entitled to appeal the verdict, and has indicated it will do so. In the meantime, Apple is entitled to seek a preliminary injunction blocking sales of the infringing devices in the U.S., which it is likely to do, and a hearing on that is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 20.
Over the course of the trial, a parade of experts hired by both companies explained why Samsung did or did not copy Apple's design patents on the iPad and iPhone. In the process, both companies displayed prototypes and design studies, making public some of the processes used at the highly secretive Apple. And commentators discovered plenty of insider details to critique.
However, no product plans were revealed as a result. But data from Samsung showed its tablets have not sold as well as many people have thought; Samsung has long kept its Android sales figures hidden.
Apple and Samsung have been engaged in a series of patent battles in the United States, Germany, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands over not just design patents but technology patents that Apple says have been unfairly withheld from it by Samsung and that Samsung says Apple has unfairly withheld from it.
The Apple-Samsung battles have been the largest part of an industry patent war among most mobile platform, device hardware, and mobile technology vendors. Apple's high reliance on Samsung components for its iPhone and iPad gave the legal wranglings added drama.
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