Apple vs. Samsung verdict: how will it affect consumers?

August 25, 2012
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The news about the verdict in the infamous Apple vs. Samsung trial has begun to settle in, and everybody is looking forward to the post trial phase. Let’s try to predict what can happen next for the two parties, and most importantly, how will their fight affect consumers.

What’s next?

Is the verdict a crushing blow for Samsung? At first glance, it certainly seems so, but the truth is the war is far from over. Samsung and Apple are engaged in more than 50 other legal actions in ten countries. Moreover, the San Jose trial that Apple just won will be followed by intense legal wrestling over injunction motions and the actual amount of damages that Samsung will have to pay. The jury found that Samsung willfully infringed on Apple’s patents, meaning that Judge Lucy Koh can decide to increase the value of damages up to three times the sum dictated by the jury. In the worst case scenario, Samsung might have to cough up $3.15 billion.

Even if Samsung loses on all fronts in the following weeks, the Korean conglomerate can still appeal the verdict at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s rare that federal judges fully reverse the decisions of district courts, but in many cases, appeal courts have modified the rulings of inferior courts to some extent. Apple will likely appeal as well; the jury let Samsung off the hook for the tablet-related patents, and the damages obtained by Apple are, at least for now, below their initial demands of $2.5 billion. An appeal is almost certainty, at this point.

Assuming that Apple will emerge victorious from the appeal as well, how will that affect the consumers, the two parties involved, and the mobile industry as a whole?

Product bans might become a common occurrence

Don’t expect an immediate effect on the average smartphone buyer. No money will exchange hands anytime soon, and, in terms of product bans, Judge Koh is not expected to tackle the problem sooner than September 20. Some watchers speculate that, given the breadth of the case, the injunction phase might be delayed even further.

Samsung risks being slapped with bans on dozens of products, as every device in question was found to infringe on at least one of Apple’s patents. The Cupertino-based company will have to prove that the availability of the products on the market causes it substantial financial harm. Most of the devices on the infringing list have reached the end of life status, meaning that injunctions will do little harm to consumers (and Samsung). Some however, like the successful Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Ace, can still be found on shelves. In the eventuality of Apple obtaining injunctions for them, these devices will be pulled from the market. However, Samsung might try to obtain stays on the injunctions until the appeal is judged, which should give them some extra time to find workarounds.

But these are just the immediate, superficial effects of yesterday’s ruling. For consumers, the real consequences will be far more pervasive and profound.

Price hikes?

Apple’s resolution to enforce its IP rights against Android OEMs will only grow, while the verdict obtained in San Jose will serve as a solid precedent in upcoming trials. Apple is coming out on a fortified position, and competitors will have to scramble to remove any potentially-infringing features from their devices. Given the broad nature of some of Apple’s patents, that might prove difficult if not impossible. As a result, Android OEMs will be forced into paying Apple royalties.

The royalties will be passed to customers, unless phone makers are willing to eat the price hike. Let’s face it, only Samsung is in the position to do that now; the other OEMs are fighting for survival, and profits are already scarce across the industry (unless your name is Apple or Samsung). I believe that Apple’s victory will cause some sort of price increase for Android phones, although it’s impossible to estimate the extent of the inflation.

A wave of change

I also think that the landmark victory that Apple obtained in court yesterday will spur a wave of change (I wouldn’t call it innovation) in the mobile industry. If Apple can patent rectangles with rounded corners (the jury asserted the validity of Apple’s respective patent), no one is safe anymore. Like it or not, Android OEMs will have to think of unique design features that would protect them in case of legal attacks from competitors.

That’s an ambiguous situation. Diversity and originality are important and all manufacturers should strive for them. But where will it stop? What if every phone maker patents the unique design feature that it came up with? Nokia – that flat, square design of its Lumia phones; Sony – the transparent line and the plastic bottoms of the Xperia NXT devices; HTC – the chinned phones?

Samsung has already been accused that it let its legal team interfere with the design of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 10.1. Unless something is done about it (meaning a sweeping patent law reform), I can see a future where all phone makers overdesign their products, just to ensure originality.

Ten years from now, we will look back at yesterday’s verdict as a momentous event that changed the industry to its core. I am just not sure that it will be for the better. What do you think?

Comments

  • androidguy

    Sadly…i think you`re right. And the change ij the industry will affect only us…customers. I just got to run to patents office to get a “shape like box” patent and sue every building…nonsense!

    • androidtrucker

      I filed for that yesterday along with “shaped like small cereal box”… what’syour aAddy son I can send you a legal cease and desist? ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bűvész-Bence/100003548748181 Bűvész Bence

    Apple is DISGUSTING. Period.

    • http://twitter.com/edwardvirtually Edward Virtually

      Sums it up well. Fwiw, I’ve been saying IP law is bullshit for 20 years. My thanks to Apple for proving it by successfully enforcing its patent on rounded rectangles. I predict increased sales of anti-Apple t-shirts and general ill will among those not pleased with being gouged by Apple just because our legal system is a joke.

      • Discworld80

        Boo-hoo-hoo. Sniff sniff. Android lost…. Sniff sniff. Not fair.

        Grow up.

        • in2android

          You do realize the rest of the world laughs at our legal system because of cases just like this? Our pathetic economy is no more then material for stand up comics all over the world, because our most successful corporations outsource jobs, while our economy is in shambles. This is just another good laugh at the US, but you probably think this is about no more then the phone that’s in your pocket. Learn something about the current status of our country young man, and then make an educated comment.

        • William

          You should be telling Apple to “Grow Up” instead.
          Apple is frightened that they actually have stiff competition, so instead of doing something original, Apple goes lawsuit crazy over what?……A SHAPE!

  • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

    @Bence Apple is a well oiled money printing machine. What’s disgusting is that people can’s see that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.loman David Loman

    Somebody should start a Black PR campaign against Apple. You know… people marching outside their headquarters, talking crap about them, making them look like if they were the CIA (because they do have Intelligence activities). Sorry for my language but… fuck Apple and their silly patents. I only know that after this, the whole mobile industry will go against them and they will end up as just another not-so-popular brand. Those guys instead of putting up a good competition have to go with their mommy and seek protection against the bullying neighbors

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlosn.mile Carlos N Mile

    Apple are a bunch of pussy’s…. They been destroyed with all the android sales,,,,,, sneaky mother fuckers all they do is pantent everything its like I want to parent the number 7 and I get a patent for it wtf is that.:…. They suck

  • Kabvuto

    I have a car and it has four wheels. It’s a Toyota. But I have seen a Honda and it also has got four wheels. Will Toyota drag Honda to court over having four wheels also? Apple sucks!!!!!!

    • Jorge Torres

      If so, Mercedes-Benz should sue everyone else since the first car was made by Karl Friedrich Benz.

  • I LOVE ANDROID!

    Apple CEOs are just afraid for competitions since they are loosing tons of consumers. Android OS are far better than apple, they only brag us with their tons of free apps. So what??? They thought that they are only the best OS and so they keep sky pricing APPLE gadgets will always rule, but after samsung making it to top, their sales went down. APPLE are so pussy and took it to the court for PATENCY. well how about suing HTC or motorola??? Such hypocrisy!

  • Mike

    I agree. It is ridiculous that no one is allowed to make rectangular phones. Anyway, I will never buy iphone even if they eliminate all phone makers.

  • Jay

    It looks like that if you have enough money to hire high powered lawyers, you can convince 9 dummies to eliminate your competitor. Apple lost the real competition. Now it uses the court system to destroy competition. Very sad. Boycott them.

    • LUFC_MOT

      I know right, I hate Apple’s business ethics with a passion, they want to dominate the mobile industry with no competition and that spells very bad news for us, unless you happen to be an Apple fagboy but of course i’m not and the thought of no choice for the consumer thanks to their bullying tactics and so called “patent protecting” leaves me with an empty feeling inside at the thought of only Apple phones at whatever price they feel like charging.

  • hakdre55

    How will it affect costumers? For the better . the more competiton , the bore vsriety in quality products.

    • LUFC_MOT

      How does Apple killing off the competition help anything? You are either very dumb or very naive … If Apple are allowed to continue in their current vein it will mean less and less choice for the consumer, until the day comes when you either buy an iPhone or you have no phone !!

  • MoogleStiltzkin

    this patent on rectangles is nonsense. this is no longer about patent rights, it’s more about common sense that you can’t innovate by turning the wheel into a triangle as it’s impractical and will not sell. Apple knows this.

    I’m not saying people should go out there and create clones of iphones, but those samsung phones clearly are not clones. Apple distorted the image evidence to make out as if it was, but the dimensions of the phone sizes are different.

    i do agree however that samsung did infringe on certain apple patents like pinch to zoom, and even remixes of sets of iconography used by the iphone.

    But what i strongly disagree with, is apple able to patent rectangular design, aka a wide based patent on common sense design principles to the exterior.

    I’m not saying it makes it right to make all the placements exactly the same, like that round button at the bottom, but just cause a phone is rectangle you are already considered breaching apples patent ? That is just pure rubbish >->; and shouldn’t be allowed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hongfpk 홍성찬

    samsung is korean company not japanese…

  • 457

    Oh.. Samsung is not japan :'(

  • scott

    Apple is pathetic! it’s not about how it looks it’s about what you can do with it. with android being open source no matter which shell you buy you can make it an extension of your personality. with apple, that boring ass product they create will always just be an apple and you just cant dress that up

  • Bill J.

    “That’s an ambivalent situation.”

    No, it’s an ambiguous situation, although your feelings about it might be ambivalent.

    This site has some interesting content, but the writing is mediocre and the “editing” (probably nonexistent) is some of the worst I’ve seen lately.

    • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

      Thanks for the heads up.

  • Korea is best

    Samsung is korean! Not japanese….
    But there is Japanese by Samsung…
    Change please.

  • qwerty

    Samsung is korean company!! And the first pircture’s samsung background image is japan’s castle.. plz fix it:p

  • LEE

    SAMSUNG IS KOREAN
    BITCH –

  • OMG

    OMG:-( SAMSUNG is KOREA’S corporation….

  • The Clarifier

    A Ha! Hey droids there were two type of patents samsung infringed. Design and utility. So with your robotic minds take a look at the utility patents samsung violated. The japs and Koreans have been copying the West’s products for years. Not just American.

    I think the dictionary says a droid is (in science fiction) a robot with a human appearance. Well, this verdict shows that a droid really is a product with an apple appearance.

    Waiting for the next court appointed Droid update and watching my aapl stock soar higher than the Enola Gay.
    Mark M.

    • 81Ad3

      You need to wind your neck in,
      1. Apple iPhone and it’s Ui are in no way unique,
      2. Apple are like modern politics image over content,
      3. Apple limit the freedom of the user, chipping away at users individuality and choice, even Microsoft one of the biggest culprits of this tactic, is softening and understands if you treat people like idiots they rebel.
      4.Apple are an image icon “fact” they are in danger of becoming a global joke,
      Yes if your product is copied then sue, if your product or parts are emulated , improved upon, be flattered and confident your on the right track.
      5. “You should be ashamed of your last comment” a truly vile and insensitive statement, I truly hope you mature enough to realize at some point in your life how wrong your mindset is.

  • William

    Either CRApple bribed the jury, or they have icrap products anyway.

  • StarLine

    Maybe the jury themselves are iPhone users ?

  • anakin

    news has already come out that of the nin jurors, one owns an iphone and 2 an android smartphone (non samsung).

    But it’s worse than that, it was revealed that ONE juror in particular (a 67 year-old electric engineer) had influence the other 8 jurors and convinced them to side with Apple. Apparently, he previously owned a patent (not software) and used that experience to convince the others. Many are calling now for a mistrial because of this. Details i’m sure will be reported here very soon.

  • Korean

    Hey, do you actually know where Samsung is from? ITSFROM KOREA NOT JAPAN.. god get global man!
    If you don’t get what im talking about, then look at the picture’s background

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexbin.zhao Alex Bin Zhao

    Apple sucks, what a joke.

  • Clarifier

    I am always amazed at guys who love products such as Droids and other non-Apple products can’t muster enough innovation amongst themselves to create their own products from their own ideas. It’s pathetic that the very same people who make computer users lives complicated solely to maintain their jobs in IT depts. are now crying that they have to earn a living on their own ideas.

    I guess their minds are so cluttered with two ideas of taking things apart and creating pathetic programs that they can’t create a new idea. It’s a shame that IT people who claim to be so talented are afraid of a little innovation. But hey, if it makes ‘em feel good to say that the only patent stolen is shape. Go for it. Remember IT jobs are on the path of the dial phone.

    C’mon boys (IT guys) pull your pants above your ass and walk like a real innovative geek.

  • in2android

    Disgusting doesn’t even describe the Cupertino Cry Babies! I say Samsung offers them a 1.5 billion dollar credit that they can use to purchase the hardware that the iphone is built from, lol! Apple is sickening example of how the American legal system is tilted. They are a terrible example of what American Business should be, and they should be ashamed of their underhanded tactics! Apple is just another greedy American corporation that’s sending jobs overseas, and this is the reason our limp dick economy is laughable to rest of the world!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexbin.zhao Alex Bin Zhao

    Their products are overprices and outdated hardware. So any company produce affordable high value product will become their target. Done.

  • GARY

    SORY GUYS APPLE IS THE BEST… THE PROBLEM OF KOREAN PRODUCTS ARE NOT ORIGINAL…..FOLLOW THE RULES OK ……THEY COPY THE DESIGN OF APPLE…..

  • GARY

    sory guys that bussiness ….. there a rules in design specially in product…if dont like to copy it by other competitors.. registered it or pattent so that can know one will copy it..ok…

  • fptr

    just reinforces my decision never to buy apple products never have never will the company has a prima donna attitude and does not deserve its success samsung produce excellent products maybe the asia companies should just refuse to make aby apple products

  • Quryous

    There may well be NO bans, at least for quite a while. Too much jury misconduct.,

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryant.vance Bryant Vance

    Fuck apple apple devises suck wow 2 products iphone and ipad same lame design compared to the amazing variety of Samsung endless variety of product sorry to say this but again fuck apple old schooled brozs

  • jamie

    The attempt to silence a man is the greatest honour you can bestow on
    him. It means that you recognize his superiority to yourself.

    Joseph Sobran

  • Jorge Torres

    Now more than ever… no apple devices for me; apple is now a simple money making company with no desire for innovation