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5 ways Apple could lose out from its victory over Samsung

David Price | Aug. 29, 2012
Samsung faces over $1bn in damages and potential bans on the sale of certain smartphone products, but it's not all good news for Apple

After jousting in court with its great mobile technology rival, Apple enjoyed an almost-total victory over Samsung in the recent patent trial verdict: Samsung faces over $1bn in damages and potential bans on the sale of certain smartphone products in the US.

But it's not all good news for Apple - and we don't just mean the fact that it actually asked for $2.75bn. (Boo hoo!) No, we've thought of 5 unexpected negatives to come out of the trial for Apple.

1 The case has given Samsung masses of publicity

Samsung isn't a two-bit outfit by any means. It's huge in Asia, and it was already selling more smartphones globally than Apple before the lawsuit got started. But it was definitely less well known among the Western mainstream than Apple. (A colleague mused that the average consumer might struggle to tell you if Samsung was from North or South Korea.) This trial has eroded that lead.

The reason the iPad 2 was so much bigger that the first iPad was because it penetrated the non-tech-savvy market. People who'd never even owned a PC were going to the shops and asking for an iPad - not a tablet, but specifically an iPad, since that was the sum total of their knowledge of the tablet market. But now that the Apple-Samsung case has been covered on the evening news, they are aware that there's more than one company making 'iPhones' and 'iPads'.

Samsung has definitely done better on this front than Apple, which had mainstream recognition already.

2 and made people think that the two companies' products are basically the same

A significant part of Apple's 'trade dress' claims against Samsung revolved around something called dilution: this simply means that Samsung's patent-infringing products make Apple's seem less innovative and special - 'magical', you might say - simply by existing and being similar. But the legal process itself has done a pretty good job of exploding the myth that Apple is the only company capable of producing high-quality mobile electronica.

Indeed, a naive reading of the verdict would be that Apple and Samsung's products are actually the same - otherwise, how could Apple accuse Samsung of copying?

One Samsung fan has posted an account that seems to back this up. The fan, one Enrique Gutierrez, says he has sat in Starbucks and observed members of the public discussing the Apple/Samsung verdict in precisely these terms.

In his words:

"Not 10 minutes later, a husband and wife, same newspaper:

"Husband: ' Samsung's iPad is the same as Apple's iPad, and I paid how much for the Apple one? Honey, I told you they were a ripoff,' after looking up the Samsung tablet on his iPhone.

 

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