Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Jury Finds For Apple in Samsung Suit

Three days was more than enough for a jury in the Northern District of California to find Apple’s patents valid, to agree with Apple’s claims that Samsung willfully infringed on those patents, and to sentence Samsung’s legal team to fifteen years hard labor in the spice mines on the prison planet Kessel. Maybe not that last bit.

The long list of infringing Samsung devices will cost $1 billion, and open the door for Apple to continue its legal strategy against Samsun. The Verge’s Nilay Patel has consistently had the most cogent and readable legal analysis of this case, and he sums up the next steps:

In the long term, we’re sure to see lots of UI behaviors change across Android — most companies have already moved away from the bounceback scrolling behavior protected by the Apple patent in this case, and we’re sure to see tap-to-zoom and multitouch scrolling behavior affected on new devices as well. We’re also sure to see new handsets adopt highly differentiated designs, as Apple has proven both its design patent and trade dress claims are strong enough to persuade a jury.

That’s already happening, and it’s a good thing; Samsung’s the only phone maker Apple has sued for copying the iPhone’s design, and its more recent devices like the Galaxy S III already have unique designs. More differentiation in the market is ultimately good for consumers.

Alternatively, as Patel points out, maybe Google ponies up the money and just licenses the rubber-band snapping thing from Apple. I imagine that’d carry a stiff price tag by now, though. Vendors like Nokia and HTC have already moved to different hardware designs, and it was mostly just Samsung shamelessly aping iPhones.

Either way, Apple’s gonna make it rain injunctions on Android phones, now that a jury has found them valid. Samsung shot a lot of folks in the foot just now.