updated 08:43 pm EDT, Fri August 24, 2012
Shortly after Samsung was handed a massive defeat in its patent infringement battle with Apple, the South Korean company issued a statement decrying the verdict as a "loss for the American consumer." The smartphone manufacturer lamented not only today's verdict, but also the current patent environment -- questioning the legitimacy of Apple's design patents and vowing to press forward in other cases.
In deciding the case for Apple, jurors awarded the Cupertino-based company $1.05 billion in damages, finding that Samsung had infringed six of seven mobile device patents held by Apple. Samsung stopped short of promising an appeal, though observers expect that one will soon follow given the size of the reward, its potential impact on Samsung's brand image, and the potentially precedent-setting nature of the decision.
"Today's verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple," the company said in its statement, "but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. 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. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple's claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer."
Notable among Samsung's defiant language is the passage noting that "[consumers] know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products." The potential for Samsung's designs to cause consumer confusion was one of the main points in Apple's case, and the iPhone maker even entered into evidence surveys suggesting that some Best Buy customers that had purchased Samsung products had returned them after being disappointed to discover that they were not iPads.
It's unlikely that today's verdict is the end of the battle between the two tech giants. As Samsung notes in its statement, the decision affects only the American market for now. Earlier today, a South Korean court banned a number of Apple and Samsung products, finding that both companies had infringed on patents. The two companies are engaged in a number of other patent cases around the world, and the legal impact from today's decision is unlikely to be known for quite some time as the appeals process begins.
For its part, Apple hailed the jury's decision, saying it sent "a loud and clear message that stealing isn't right." Apple's statement drew attention to "the mountain of evidence presented during the trial," and said that Samsung's copying went "far deeper than even we knew."