After Apple's Patent Win Over Samsung, Is Google Next?

Is the search giant in Apple's cross-hairs after Samsung was ordered to pay over a billion in damages for infringing on Apple's smartphone IP?

Late Friday, a California jury sided with Apple and found that Samsung violated multiple patents owned by Apple. Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in a bitter patent legal battle since 2011 with each side arguing patent infringement.

From a Samsung product perspective, the jury found that multiple Samsung smartphone devices – including the Captivate, Continuum, Epic 4G, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Nexus – infringe on Apple's patents. Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet devices were not found to be in violation of Apple's patents.

In total, the jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, less than half the $2.5 billion that Apple originally sought.

Not surprisingly, Apple is happy with the jury verdict.

"We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work," Apple CEO Tim Cooke said in a memo sent to employees, first obtained by 9to5mac. "For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It's about values. We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy."

Samsung disagrees with the verdict and is also likely to appeal the decision. In a statement sent by Samsung, the South Korean tech giant said that the jury verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer.

"It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices," Samsung stated. "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."

Google

Apple's legal battle with Samsung was focused primarily on hardware-related patents and, as such, may not necessarily represent a risk to Samsung's use of Google's Android operating system.

"The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims," Google said in a statement. "Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the U.S. Patent Office."

While Apple may not currently be targeting Android directly, Google still has its hands full fending off other Android intellectual property issues. Microsoft in particular has been aggressive with Android devices makers.

Unlike Apple, however, Microsoft's primary tactic has not only been courtroom decisions. Microsoft has pursued an intellectual property licensing program with Android vendors, including Samsung, in order to alleviate patent concerns.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.




Tags: Google, mobile, Apple, Samsung


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