Apple Wins Pyrrhic Victory in South Korea, Huge Victory in US in Samsung Patent Lawsuits

Two decisions in two different countries about the same patent issue in a single day. How’s that for coincidence? An Apple vs. Samsung fight over a couple of user-interface patents has been decided independently in both South Korea and the US today.

The South Korean decision, which was issued first, was more balanced toward both sides: Samsung violated Apple’s patents on the “bounce-back” effect and slide-to-unlock, but didn’t copy Apple’s designs; Apple violated a couple of Samsung’s wireless patents. They each owe each other five-digit damage sums (Apple owes Samsung about 50% more than Samsung owes Apple), and sales of Apple iPhone and iPad and Samsung Galaxy products are temporarily banned in South Korea.

The US decision came out rather more in Apple’s favor, with the company awarded over one billion dollars in damages (out of the $2.525 billion it demanded) for “willfully” infringing Apple’s design patents on bounce-back scrolling. Though Samsung countersued Apple over the same patents as in the Korea case, the US jury wasn’t convinced and didn’t award damages to Samsung. Needless to say, there will be appeals. It’s weird to think that just a year and a half ago, Samsung and Apple were signing a $7.8 billion deal to make iPad and iPhone parts.

If this award stands, how is this going to affect the nascent tablet market? Will everyone but Apple get out of it lest they attract Apple’s unwanted attention if they do too well? With as many patents as there are in play, it ends up looking something like the Biblical concept of sin—no matter how well you try to behave, you’ve assuredly done something wrong just by existing. The “Mutually Assured Destruction” school of patent defense was supposed to safeguard against this, by giving companies ammunition to sue right back if another company sues them—but this doesn’t seem to be working out so well for Samsung right now, does it?

4 thoughts on “Apple Wins Pyrrhic Victory in South Korea, Huge Victory in US in Samsung Patent Lawsuits

  1. Samsung wasn’t doing well at all in the tablet market, they just sold a few thousand. And I am sure they were the ones doing best among OEMs. My belief is that this ruling affects far more smartphones than tablets, since the Galaxy Tab managed to get clean out of this, with no evidence of either design or interface copy on Samsung’s part. Even so, tablet makers (and other OEMs for that matter) will definitely have it harder now. I can’t wait to start seeing the new Windows Surface tablets. I think Microsoft is providing a great example of how to think out of the box here and I’m sure that because of this ruling, at least some OEMs will start thinking about using Windows 8 in their offerings. Anyway. I digress. This is a difficult position for every OEM except Apple. I hope they come out of this with truly nice innovative ideas. The longer they take it will be for the worse.

    1. @Alvaro; your right about that, Microsoft is the closes things that trying to think outside the box, and has a eco system like Apple, they have the products, which is Surface, Xbox, and windows phone, The draw back is I wish they would open the apps where I didn’t have to be on Xbox live gold, I can understand if I want extra content, but I already have to pay 16 dollars a month for netflix and than 8 dollars for hulu, why should I have to pay another 50 dollars a year to watch, when I can get a apple tv and do the same thing get hulu and netflix.

      I think the only reason I’m keeping my the idea for microsoft right now is I holding out for surface to see what it truely does, right now they showed smartglass which is like mirroring on apple

      Though I think Android main company has just got slaughtered in the U.S. so now it round two Google vs Apple, which will be intresting since they have most patents on phones

    2. Samsung actually shipped almost 2.5 million tablets worldwide in the second quarter of 2012 alone. The reports that they only sold 37 thousand are based on an incorrect reading of court documents. That only includes US sales of the three tablets named in the lawsuit, all of which had been discontinued and replaced by newer models. A lot of tech sites couldn’t be bothered to check facts.

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