The high profile Samsung vs. Apple trial has finally come to a conclusion, and the Jury has delivered a stunning $1.05 billion settlement in favor of Apple. The fine isn’t unsubstantial, but the bigger message here is that Apple now has legal precedent for many of the patents that cover the gadgets we love, and the rest of the industry will need to quickly fall into line. This will mean higher licensing fees, and ultimately, higher prices for consumers. The Verge did an excellent job of summarizing the verdict as it came down, but to put it in just a few words, this changes everything.
Interviews with members of the Jury have begun to trickle out to the various news agencies, and the most interesting of these is with 67-year-old Velvin Hogan. As an electrical engineer Hogan appears to have been instrumental in helping his peers understand the patent system, and in fact, is a patent holder himself. You could make the argument that Hogan was biased towards a broken system, however it sounds as though he carefully considered the evidence, as did his fellow jurors. "We felt like we were 100 percent fair, but we wanted something more than a slap on the wrist."
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 trail 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.
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.
Let us know how you would have come down on the debate.