Now that Apple has won its $1 billion courtroom battle with Samsung over patent infringement technology commentators are now wondering whether they will turn their sights onto Google.
Google’s engineers were directly involved with the development of at least one of Samsung’s copied phones, the Nexus S, and every one of Samsung’s devices used Google’s Android operating system.
Famously, Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs, declared Android a ‘stolen product’, that he vowed to ‘destroy’ by going to ‘thermonuclear war on this’.
However, analysts are seeing a strategic decision by Apple to go after the manufacturers of Android devices and not the company that designed the software.
‘It’s all about tactics,’ says FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller. ‘There’s no reason Apple would have to be afraid of suing Google directly. It’s just tactically more convenient to go against other device makers.’
The speculation comes as Apple were awarded more than $1 billion in damages as it prevailed in its patent-infringement case against Samsung.
The jury decided that the majority of Samsung smartphones and tablets violate patents held by Apple including features such as the zoom in and out innovation achieved by tapping the screen.
The jury also decided that Samsung’s infringement was intentional and said the firm’s counter-suit for $399 million against Apple was without merit.
Samsung has said it will appeal against the ruling.
‘We will move immediately to file post-verdict motions to overturn this decision in this court and if we are not successful, we will appeal this decision to the Court of Appeals,’ a statement from Samsung said.
The verdict in the complex case came after the nine-member jury began deliberations on Wednesday.
The software giant are set to call for a sales injunction at a hearing next month, demanding Samsung products are pulled from the U.S. market.
The landmark legal case could also affect other territories such as the UK, as Apple could call for import bans on its rivals products.
Apple Corp. filed its lawsuit in April 2011 and engaged legions of the country’s highest-paid patent lawyers to demand $2.5 billion from its top smartphone competitor. Samsung Electronics Co. fired back with its own lawsuit seeking $399 million.
But the day belonged to Apple as the jury rejected all Samsung’s claim against Apple. The jury did reject some of Apple’s claims against the two dozen Samsung devices at issue, declining to award the $2.5 billion Apple demanded.
During closing arguments, Apple attorney Harold McElhinny claimed Samsung was having a ‘crisis of design’ after the 2007 launch of the iPhone, and executives with the South Korean company were determined to illegally cash in on the success of the revolutionary device.
Samsung’s lawyers countered that it was simply and legally giving consumers what they want: Smart phones with big screens. They said Samsung didn’t violate any of Apple’s patents and further alleged innovations claimed by Apple were actually created by other companies.
Apple’s legal team plans to formally demand Samsung pull its most popular cellphones and computer tablets from the U.S. market. They also can ask the judge to triple the damages to $3 billion. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh will decide those issues along with Samsung’s demand she overturn the jury’s verdict in several weeks.
The outcome of the case is likely to have ripple effects in the smartphone market. After seeing Samsung’s legal defeat, other device makers relying on Android may become more reluctant to use the software and risk getting dragged into court.
‘Some of these device makers might end up saying, ‘We love Android, but we really don’t want to fight with Apple anymore,’ said Christopher Marlett, CEO of MDB Capital Group, an investment bank specializing in intellectual property.
‘I don’t know if $1 billion is hugely significant to Apple or Samsung,’ Marlett said. ‘But there is a social cost here. As a company, you don’t want to be known as someone who steals from someone else. I am sure Samsung wants to be known as an innovator, especially since a lot of Asian companies have become known for copying the designs of innovators.’