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GUEST BLOG: Apple vs. Samsung: Hold the phone -- it ain't over yet

JR Raphael | Aug. 28, 2012
Reading all the news about the Apple-Samsung trial verdict, it's hard not to feel like the world as we know it has just changed forever.

Reading all the news about the Apple-Samsung trial verdict, it's hard not to feel like the world as we know it has just changed forever.

By now you've probably heard that a California jury came back with a sweeping win for Apple in the company's ongoing battle against Samsung. The jury found Samsung guilty of willfully infringing on Apple's patents on a massive number of counts, effectively saying it copied Apple's designs and features on dozens of mobile devices.

Money aside -- the jury said Samsung should pay $1.05 billion to Apple as a result of the finding -- the big question on everyone's mind is what this all will mean for Samsung, Android, and the larger mobile world. Countless blogs and websites are weighing in, predicting everything from the end of Samsung's sales dominance to a radical change in how manufacturers approach Android. Some are even saying the move will help Microsoft's Windows Phone get the love and attention it so desperately desires.

Here's the truth, though: The verdict may be in, but the Apple-Samsung battle is anything but over -- and at this point, no one really knows how it'll all shake out.

Apple vs. Samsung: Reading between the lines

Hey, I get it: Knee-jerk doom-and-gloom reaction is inevitable, particularly following a high-profile and emotional trial like this. But take a deep breath, folks. Let's look at this rationally.

First and foremost, remember that the jury's finding is not the final word. On September 20, Apple and Samsung will come back together for a hearing at which the judge will consider the verdict and prepare to make a ruling of her own. Samsung has made it clear that it intends to appeal the verdict to this judge and -- if necessary -- beyond. The words "Supreme Court" have been uttered more than a few times, and the notion of a case like this reaching that high isn't inconceivable.

How feasible is it that the verdict could be overturned? Well, I'm certainly no lawyer -- I don't even play one on TV -- but the website Groklaw has put together a fascinating list of issues that could bring the validity of the jury's finding into question. I'd highly recommend reading through it yourself.

A few high points:

  • The foreman of the Apple-Samsung jury has gone on the record as saying the jury reached its decision without following the court's instructions. He has also told reporters he wanted to "make sure the message [the jury] sent was not just a slap on the wrist" but rather "sufficiently high to be painful." That's a stark contrast to the actual court instructions, which state that the "damages award should put the patent holder in approximately the financial position it would have been in had the infringement not occurred" and that it is "meant to compensate the patent holder and not to punish an infringer."
  • Another juror reportedly told the media the group decided after the first day of deliberations that it believed Samsung was in the wrong. Yes, after the first day. His description of how the jury reached its decision suggests the foreman -- who apparently holds one random patent himself -- used his own limited experience in the area to interpret the evidence for them and help the group get through the questions the way he saw fit.


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