This article was published on August 24, 2012

Apple wins software and design patent judgements against most Samsung devices in trial over iPhone and iPad

Apple wins software and design patent judgements against most Samsung devices in trial over iPhone and iPad
Matthew Panzarino
Story by

Matthew Panzarino

Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter. Matthew Panzarino was Managing Editor at TNW. He's no longer with the company, but you can follow him on Twitter.

Today, the jury reached a verdict in the Apple v. Samsung case. Bloomberg was the first to report that the jury had finished deliberating far earlier than anyone anticipated. The Verge had an excellent liveblog of the verdict up and running.

The verdict was a nearly complete landslide victory against Samsung for Apple. The jury voted that nearly every one of Samsung’s devices infringed on Apple patents aside from its tablets. There were many individual devices that escaped judgement on one patent or another, but almost every one of Apple’s utility and design claims scored some kind of mark. The verdict was reached at 2:35PM today.

Apple’s software claims on the home screen and other touch actions were also big winners today, as was its trade dress. Decisions over dress, the ‘look and feel’ portion of Apple’s claims,  hit on nearly every Samsung device outside of the Samsung Galaxy Tab models.

Everything wasn’t roses though, as Apple was unable to prove any of Samsung’s counter-claimed patents invalid. But it did escape infringement on any of them, even basic 3G patents.

Software patents

Apple’s software patents were the first to be ruled on. The jury ruled for Apple in the case of all Samsung products involved in the case, stating that they were infringing on Apple’s software design patent ‘381, the ‘bounce back’ action.

The jury ruled for Apple in the case of many, but not all, of Samsung’s products infringing on Apple’s software patent ‘915, a scrolling patent integral to actions like pinch-to-zoom. Only three devices, including the Intercept and Replenish were exempt.

The jury also ruled for Apple on the ‘163 patent (double tap to zoom), saying that Samsung infringed on all but 8 phones and tablets. On the question “did Samsung induce its U.S. counterpart into infringing the patents,” the jury returned in the affirmative an almost all counts. On the ‘381 patent, all Samsung devices were found for inducement. On the ‘915 patent, all Samsung devices but the Replenish were found for inducement.

That last question is all about damages, did Samsung willfully copy the software design of Apple’s devices.

Design patents

Next up were Apple’s design patents related to the front and back of the iPhone and the overall design of the iPad.

For the infringement of the D’677 patent, covering the front face of the iPhone, Samsung was found to infringe on all devices aside from the Ace. On the D’087 patent, relating to the back of the iPhone, all Samsung devices aside from the S 4G and Vibrant only were found to infringe.

On the D’305 patent, all Samsung devices were found to infringe. That’s the design of Apple’s iOS icons. The jury also felt that Samsung should have known that the icons were being copied.

Samsung also failed to prove Apple’s patents invalid, across the board.

Samsung did get a slight break with the ‘889 patent for the iPad’s design, neither Galaxy Tab models were found to be willful infringement. That’s the one for “clean front, edge-to-edge glass, thin bezel, thin outer border, and rounded corners of a tablet”.

Samsung got nailed on many other devices for inducement, only the tablets were spared really. All patents but D’087 and D’889 were proven to be willfully infringed by Samsung.

Trade Dress

Samsung could not prove that the ‘893 trade dress on the iPhone 3G was not protectable. The iPhone 3G trade dress was found to be diluted by many of Samsung’s products, despite not being registered. Only the Captivate, Charge, Epic 4G, Galaxy S 2, Skyrocket, Infuse and Epic 4G touch were found not to dilute the 3G’s trade dress.

The Galaxy S 4G, one of Samsung’s flagship devices, was found to dilute the trade dress of the iPhone 3G, cranking up the damages numbers quite a bit.


Samsung was found to owe Apple $1,049,343,540 in damages over trade dress and patent violations for iPhone and iPad. The damages were spread out over all of the various Samsung devices. The findings of willfulness in the court definitely drove up the cost.

Samsung’s claims against Apple

Samsung also claimed a series of its holdings including the ‘711, ‘893, ‘460, ‘516 patents against Apple’s various devices. Not a single one of Samsung’s patents were found to be infringed by Apple, though Apple was unable to prove their invalidity.

Problems with the verdict

Judge Lucy Koh found a couple of problems with the verdict card after the announcement was read. For one, the D’889 patent was not found to be diluted, induced or infringed by the Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE, though over $200k in damages was awarded for that device.

The Intercept was accused of infringing of the D’915 patent, but the jury found that it did not on any counts. Yet they still awarded $2.2M in damages over inducement. Since you can’t very well induce someone to infringe on a patent that they, well, didn’t infringe on then that’s a problem.

The jury was asked to head back into their deliberation room to go over that form. they returned and noted the Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE damages were now $0. The same went for the Intercept, which was noted not to have infringed on the ‘915 patent. So that reduced the total damages that Samsung was liable for by about $2.4M.

The story so far

The consensus about the verdict is that it was reached mighty quick. There were 30 different judgements to be made with over 700 sub-arguments and this feels really, really sudden. It seems almost unfathomable that the jury has had the time —  just about two days — to dissect each of these points in turn. That likely means that it was able to reach a broadly applicable decision based on the overall impression given by the two parties in the trial.

Although it’s likely that there will be appeals, they will be on technical matters as the lawyers attempt to knead and shape the impact of the outcome to their companies’ business over the coming decade.

Apple recently got a split decision in a Korean court over whether two of its patents were infringed by Samsung. That case, though partially awarded to Samsung, was not thought to have a large impact on the its battles elsewhere. That’s not the case for the U.S. trial, which is expected to set at least some legal precedent, no matter which way it has been decided.

Apple and Samsung react

Apple issued a statement to The New York Times, obviously very pleased with the verdict:

We are grateful to the jury for their service and for investing the time to listen to our story and we were thrilled to be able to finally tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than even we knew. The lawsuits between Apple and Samsung were about much more than patents or money. They were about values. At Apple, we value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. We make these products to delight our customers, not for our competitors to flagrantly copy. We applaud the court for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.

Samsung says that today’s verdict should be viewed as a loss for the American consumer:

Today’s 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. 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.

Steve Jobs’ war

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Apple founder Steve Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.”

Jobs was famously vocal about his hatred of the way that he perceived Android to have ripped off the iPhone, especially in software design. Battles like Apple v. Samsung have been seen as parts of a proxy war that Apple continues to wage against Google.

“Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google you f*ing ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,'” Jobs told Isaacson. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”

Jobs reportedly told Google’s Eric Schmidt, “I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I don’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”

Though many of the decisions made today are focused on the design of Samsung’s products, several of Apple’s software patents that were proven to be potent weapons, like double-tap-to-zoom, bounce scrolling and even the design of the iOS home screen are used Android-wide. This could potentially cause problems for Google and for other partners in the ecosystem. It’s definitely not a step backwards for Apple, though it is a step sideways for Samsung and perhaps even a chink in Android’s armor that Apple could potentially hammer away at.

For more on Apple v. Samsung check out:

Samsung’s legal team in hot water for publicly releasing inadmissible evidence from Apple patent trial

Day 1: Leaky evidence, secret prototypes and kitchen tables

Day 2: Schiller, Forstall testify on creation, sales and hardships of iPhone project

Day 4 preview: The iPhone and iPad may feel obvious, but they weren’t inevitable

Apple’s argument that Samsung copied its software designs, summed up by a single yellow flower

Apple v. Samsung closing arguments: ‘Make your own phones’ v. ‘Apple is trying to mislead you’

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