Apple’s California court victory perceived as legal stalemate

Few businesses have the global reach and revenue of companies like Apple and Samsung. When the smartphone titans recently clashed in a California court, Apple attorneys argued for a $2.2 billion judgment, claiming Samsung’s competing smartphones contained copies of Apple’s patented functions and features. Samsung countered Apple’s patent claims were misplaced.

This isn’t the first time the smartphone makers have tangled in a courtroom. Samsung now owns the lion’s share of the global smartphone market, with 31 percent of worldwide business. After owning 27 percent of the market, Apple’s share dipped to 15 percent over the last three years. The jury in the intellectual property case awarded Apple $119.6 million.

The judgment added up to a fraction of Apple’s damage request and was depleted further by $158,400. The jury decided to deduct the money because Apple infringed upon a Samsung patent with the rollout of iPhone 4s and 5s. Legal observers believe that Apple is walking away from the court fight with just enough to pay the legal bills.

Apple was more successful when it sued Samsung in 2012 for a $930 million award. The infringement litigation contained similar patent claims about past products by Samsung, most of which have disappeared from the U.S. market. The smartphone manufacturers now are expected to try to have U.S. sales of their competitors’ current products banned, an unlikely outcome for either company.

Samsung’s argument throughout the trial was that Apple should be going after Android-software maker Google. Google provides smartphone makers with free Android mobile operating systems, included in over 70 percent of all smartphones made. Late Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs blamed Google for stealing Apple ideas to create the operating system, apparently vowing to wage “thermonuclear war” against Android.

Intellectual property attorneys assess claims and help plaintiffs set realistic legal goals. Sometimes a settlement is a better and less costly solution than pressing for a full-blown trial.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Jury: Samsung Infringed Apple Smartphone Patents” Paul Elias, Associated Press, May. 02, 2014