Apple vs Samsung: verdict still guilty, but smaller dollar penalty

Samsung has been found guilty of illegally copycatting Apple’s products, technologies, and intellectual properties yet again – but this time the court system decided that Samsung’s penalty should be of a smaller dollar variety. Last year a jury ruled that Samsung owed Apple a billion dollars for copycatting its popular products like the iPhone and iPad in order to create its fraudulent knockoff Galaxy lineup. That ruling opened the door for all of Samsung’s smartphones and tablets to be banned from the marketplace. But after some legal wrangling the entire case had to be tried again. And while Apple doubled up and asked for two billion dollars this time, the jury decided that Samsung’s sins shouldn’t cost quite as much, this time only a little more than a hundred million dollars. But it’s still very much an Apple win, because it was never about the money.

Neither Apple nor Samsung would have been seismically shifted by the transfer of a billion dollars, as both companies have several whole multiples of that much cash lying around. Apple was really looking for a confirmation of the earlier guilty verdict so that it can now proceed with trying to get Samsung’s copycat devices banned as a whole. Thus far Apple has been relying on patent processes to get one Samsung device banned at a time, but by the time the rulings come down months or years later, Apple has already moved onto a new generation of product and Samsung has already copycatted it, leaving the products in question in the dust.

Today’s ruling, however, means that Apple now has more solid legal ground to get Samsung’s mobile lineup shut down entirely. Apple accuses Samsung of not only stealing its intellectual property and innovations, but repackaging them in products whose exterior design intentionally mimics that of Apple’s own corresponding products. While the legal wranglings will continue, today’s partial victory for Apple in court translates to a total victory in terms of the kind of ruling it was hoping for; the only possible good news for Samsung today would have been a not guilty verdict.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.