Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty-four hours, you’re probably aware that the lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, as of right now, is over. In what was surely a surprise to anyone, even the most die-hard Apple fanatics, Apple didn’t just come out on top, they absolutely crushed Samsung in the jurors’ minds; the court found Samsung in violation, in some product or another, of every patent that Apple used against them. Apple, on the other hands, was found to be in violation of none of Samsung’s patents. None.
At the end of the day, it was determined that Samsung owed Apple an easy payment of $1.02 billion in damages. While this is a drop in the bucket for both companies, the message here is worth more than the paycheck – when Steve Jobs famously quipped “and boy have we patented it” in the 2007 MacWorld iPhone reveal keynote, with the not-so-subtle undertones of threat in his voice, it was something to be taken seriously.
Samsung’s statement to the ruling being the following:
It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products.
Apple has also responded, saying:
The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy.
Whatever your opinion on the ruling and the trial in general has been, there’s one thing everybody can agree on – things are going to change in the smartphone phone space. Samsung and other OEMs will certainly think twice before implementing features such as momentum based scrolling, pinch to zoom, and slide to unlock – perhaps even features not directly included in the trial, such as S-Voice (Samsung’s controversial Siri-like-feature) will end up being re-evaluated. Mobile phone UIs will be reimagined and redesigned, rethought and born a-new.
There’s something almost sad about the outcome, particularly for Google and co. – I can’t imagine many OEMs will be so eager to take advantage of the “free” Android operating system if there’s a hidden fee of potential, costly, litigation attached. Perhaps those who argue Microsoft came out on top are right – things are looking pretty good over in the Windows Phone camp right now.