NEW YORK » Apple’s $1 billion court victory over Samsung poses a lot of questions for consumers. Will Samsung phones still be available for sale? Will they be more expensive? Do owners of phones need to worry?
A federal jury in San Jose, Calif., ruled late Friday that Samsung, the world’s largest maker of phones, had copied features of the iPhone and the iPad. That included the "bounce-back" behavior when a user scrolls to the end of a page and the ability to zoom in on an image by spreading two fingers.
The jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. That was less than the $2.5 billion sought but still a victory for Apple. The jury also rejected Samsung’s patent-infringement claims against Apple. An appeal is expected.
For now, here’s what the verdict means for consumers:
QUESTION: Can I still buy a Samsung phone or tablet computer today?
ANSWER: Yes. The jury didn’t prohibit sales of the devices. However, Apple will ask a judge to ban U.S. sales of several Samsung devices. A Sept. 20 hearing has been scheduled. If the judge agrees, that would affect many Samsung devices, but not the most recent ones, such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note smartphones. Most of the two dozen devices covered by the lawsuit aren’t sold in meaningful numbers in the U.S.
Q: Was Friday’s verdict final?
A: No. Samsung is challenging it. First, Samsung will ask the trial judge to toss the verdict. Then it will appeal to a court in Washington that specializes in patent appeals. Samsung has vowed to take the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
Q: If Apple still prevails, will this drive Samsung out of the phone business?
A: That’s not likely. The verdict doesn’t apply outside the U.S. and doesn’t apply to the latest Samsung devices, either. The $1 billion in damages represents 1.5 percent of Samsung Electronics Co.’s annual revenue.
Q: Will this make Samsung phones more expensive?
A: Possibly. Samsung may have to pay Apple substantial royalties on each phone. Consumers will likely pay for that somehow, but it may not be noticeable in stores. Phone companies such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless already subsidize each smartphone by hundreds of dollars to get retail prices down to $99 or $199.
APPLE SEEKS BAN ON DISPUTED PHONES
SAN FRANCISCO >> Apple Inc. on Monday gave a federal judge a list of eight Samsung Electronics Co. products it wants pulled from shelves and banned from the U.S. market.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh asked for the list after a jury in San Jose last week slammed Samsung with a $1.05 billion verdict, finding that the South Korean technology giant had “willfully” copied Apple’s iPhone and iPad in creating and marketing the products. Samsung plans an appeal. The products Apple wants banished from the United States are all smartphones: Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 AT&T, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge and Galaxy Prevail.
Koh on June 26 banned the Galaxy Tab 10.1 from the U.S. market after finding it likely violated a “design patent.” Samsung is now asking for that ban to be lifted after the jury found the computer tablet didn’t infringe that particular patent, but it did find it infringed three Apple’s software patents that cover the popular “bounce-back” and pinch-to-zoom features. The judge has scheduled a Sept. 20 hearing to discuss Apple’s demands for the sales bans.