Yesterday, a Northern California jury announced their verdict in one of the most highly anticipated decisions of the high technology era: Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for patent infringement.
In that case, Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., both companies alleged numerous patent infringements by the other company. The jury’s verdict clearly indicates that it believed Samsung, not Apple, was the in the wrong here. So what happens next?
Because the jury found that Samsung willfully infringed on Samsung’s patents (as opposed to inadvertently), the judge has the discretion to increase the jury’s award up to triple that amount. Alternatively, if the judge finds that no rational jury could have awarded that amount based on the facts of the case, she can reduce the award to Apple.
Whether Samsung will be allowed to continue selling the infringing products is yet to be determined, but some commentators have said that it is unlikely a court will stop the sale of the products because of the difficulty of obtaining that kind of legal judgement (an injunction).
Although this is the moment many of us have been anticipating, the case is far from closed. Samsung will likely appeal the decision once the judge decides the final damages. Some have even observed that despite the likelihood of a huge penalty, Samsung may actually come out far ahead in the game. Being likened to Apple’s products — arguably the paragon of design in technology products — seems to have propelled Samsung into the limelight and into the position of the second most profitable mobile company.
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