In the aftermath of the August 2012 verdict by a panel of the jury that awarded Apple $1 billion in damages for copying design and software features, the federal court judge, Lucy Koh, ruled that Samsung can continue to sell their smartphones in the US.
According to Judge Koh, she said that Apple could not conclusively prove that the patent infringement and loss of sales were connected. It’s good news for Samsung, not so much for Apple, but she did deny Samsung’s request for a new trial.
Judge Lucy Koh wrote “While Apple has presented evidence that design, as a general matter, is important to consumers more broadly, Apple simply has not established a sufficient causal nexus between infringement of its design patents and irreparable harm,” , “Though evidence that Samsung attempted to copy certain Apple features may offer some limited support for Apple’s theory, it does not establish that those features actually drove consumer demand.” And probably most important is that the judge understands it’s not all about the company, but consumers as well who have purchased these devices and if a ban were to take place the consumers would definitely be harmed. “The public interest does not support removing phones from the market when the infringing components constitute such limited parts of complex, multi-featured products.”
While we cannot fault the panel of jury for doing their job, wrong or right, they came back with a ruling that they thought was right, but in the end, it is good to know that the judge has common sense and denied Apple’s tasteless way of doing business. We are all for enforcement of patents, knowing that somebody had to spend hundreds of hours and possibly years in coming up with something useful for the world, but to limit competition despite Samsung’s willingness to pay is wrong.
And as we always stated, in truth, any reasonable person will not be confused with what they are buying considering the packaging says it all whether it is an Apple or Samsung product. For these companies to go about with frivolous lawsuits just to keep the competition at bay is not good at all for the consumer as it does really limit our options.
Nobody likes the bad guy and Apple with their many lawsuits has been playing the part well. That’s probably why Samsung has managed to win the hearts and minds of many consumers as reflected by their continuing strong sales. Of course, having a very strong compelling product lines help too.
Here’s some advice for Apple if they want to continue to dominate the market instead of slowly fading into obscurity: segment the market by coming up with a few smartphones that cater to the different needs of different users; faster product cycle because they are too slow at the moment as they are reminiscent of the car industry in the 1980s; continue to develop their software as Google’s Android is killing them by leaps and bounds and be bold by bringing back at least half of the outsourced jobs back to America. Just by bringing back jobs to America, we are confident that most consumers would be more inclined to buy more Apple products.
Public perception is very important and if Apple rights their wrong by moving away from competing in the court room to competing in the marketplace, this will send a strong message to the rest of those patent trolls that it’s not okay to sue companies that create jobs and they actually make something while these patent trolls hide behind ideas of what could be.
If anything the ongoing saga between Apple and Samsung has taught us is that the patent laws need to be reformed to protect intellectual property, but at the same time not to be abused.