Analysts and legal experts comment on Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s victory today in a federal court case in San Jose, California, against South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., which it accused of copying mobile phone designs and patents.
Carl Howe, an analyst with Boston-based Yankee Group:
“This is a big win for Apple. The jury found in their favor for nearly every single claim.”
“It puts Google on notice.”
“In some sense it’s already had the effect Apple was looking for. You’re already seeing Samsung change their designs to avoid using the Apple-patented technologies and you’re going to see more of that. They are going to avoid the infringing issues. They will choose the path of least resistance.”
“It’s good for innovation. It says that if you create something new, others can’t just piggyback on it. From a competition point of view, it says create your own stuff. It says copying is not OK.”
“You have to remember this is one venue and this is a worldwide legal battle.”
“What I think really the overall upshot is that if you don’t want to be tied up in court for the next 10 years, do something different. That was Apple’s goal.”
Kevin Restivo, a Toronto-based analyst for IDC Corp.:
“The impact of the verdict to Samsung and Apple in the marketplace is minimal at best. The technology in the market is consistently ahead of the courts. Mobile phones are no different.”
“Samsung has taken a sizable lead in the smartphone market over Apple and every other phone maker in the world. There’s a huge gap between the verdict and reality.”
“Samsung is not likely to cede the smartphone market leadership to Apple or anyone else in the short term.”
“Apple has its hands full with Samsung, irrespective of whether it’s been wronged or not.”
“There is no question about it, this is a victory for Apple.”
“It’s proved what it wanted to prove and it’s received significant monetary damages to that effect.”
“There’s no denying that this is an important day for Apple in that it’s received some redress with respect to the wrongdoings of Samsung vis a vis the iPhone design.”
“The net effect is going to be in future versions of iPhone and any other smartphone.”
“This gives Apple that ability, and that important legal precedent, to protect its valuable intellectual property.”
“Companies are going to think twice when designing their future smartphones in ensuring there are no similarities between their competitive versions to an iPhone.”
“In the short term, it doesn’t dent Android momentum.”
“It does give Apple the ability to better protect its IP.”
“The damages assessed are huge, but relative to the size of Samsung’s cash flow it’s not going to be noticeable impact on its finances.”
“It is a black eye for Samsung.”
Michael Risch, patent law professor, Villanova University:
“This is a snapshot moment in time. Samsung has deep pockets and they are going to change some designs up. They are going to have to change some features that make things, but maybe they will come up with something better.”
“Not being able to copy may make them do better things than Apple.”
Risch said Apple succeeded where others haven’t by being able to patent user-interface designs. When companies tried that in the 1980s by using copyright law, the courts ruled against those design claims. “Apple figured out a way around that.”
“This is going to lead to some hard thinking at the Federal Circuit and maybe even the Supreme Court about design patents.”
Apple was able to persuade the jury that if the overall appearance of the devices is similar, the minor differences in design don’t matter, Risch said.
“This case is not over. I think there is going to be a lot of hang-wringing about what to do.”
Kevin Rivette, founder of 3LP Advisors LLC and former vice president of intellectual property strategy for International Business Machines Corp.:
“The court is 10 miles from Cupertino headquarters.”
“Microsoft is a big winner today. It’s the only other one out there. If I were HTC, I’d be very concerned.”
“The licensees will start moving away from Android. They’re business people. Google is now in a position that they didn’t want to be in.
“Google is the one that has to stand up for the Android system.
“It’s a good day for competition. You’re going to force competitors to come into the marketplace with new designs.
“We’ve seen the first big win in a long battle.
“We’re not even close to being done.”
Hartmut Esslinger, founder of Frog Design Inc. and a consultant to Apple on designing the first Mac computer:
“It’s a great day for design.”
“There’s many ways to make a nice tablet, you don’t have to copy Apple.”
“This means companies will have to put more money into more original designs. Samsung is a huge company, with the reputation of being a copycat, which it is.”
“They’re a huge company and they can do much better. Instead of paying the lawyers, they should pay some designers.”
“There’s huge value in creative design.”
--Ian King, with assistance from Peter Burrows and Adam Satariano in San Francisco. Editors: Stephen West, Reed Stevenson
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