This is a patent war that doesn’t need any introduction. Apple, based in Cupertino, California and Samsung, a South Korean giant in mobile phones have been a biggest enemy in this patent war in IPR sector.
Apple sued its component supplier Samsung, alleging in a 38-page federal complaint on 15th April, 2011 in the United States District Court, that several of Samsung’s Android phones and tablets, including Nexus S, Epic 4G, Galaxy S 4G, and Samsung Galaxy Tab, infringed on Apple’s intellectual property: its patents, trademarks, user interface and style. Apple’s complaint included specific federal claims for patent infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition, and trademark infringement, as well as state-level claims for unfair competition, common law trademark infringement, and unjust enrichment.
In the original lawsuit Apple sued Samsung, stating that South-Korean firm had “slavishly” ripped off the design and technology of Apple products. Countering to the lawsuit, Samsung alleged that Apple infringed number of patents of Samsung that deals with 3G. Apple then added more claims, stating Samsung copied the “look and feel” of the Apple iOS range of devices, naming Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. Apple was seeking $2.5 billion in damages, and Samsung was also seeking financial restitution.
Among the patents Apple accused Samsung of infringing upon is Design Patent US D504889, which is a single page document with nine accompanying images of an unnamed electronic device in the shape of a rounded rectangle. Samsung did infringe on Apple’s ‘381 bounce back patent with all 21 of its products in question. For the ‘915 patent on pinch-and-zoom, the jury ruled all but three of the devices listed infringed.
Patents that were said to be infringed by Samsung:
· ‘381 patent – This patent covers “the ‘rubber band’ effect where a page ‘bounces’ when a user scrolls to the bottom” and “includes touch-screen actions like dragging documents and multi-touch capabilities like pinch to zoom and twist to rotate.”
· ‘915 patent – This patent “relates to a device capable of distinguishing between a single-touch scroll operation and a multi-touch pinch-to-zoom operation.”
· ‘163 patent – This patent covers behaviour like “how you can double-tap a touch screen to enlarge and centre portions of Web page, photo, or document.”
· ‘305 patent – This one is more ornamental in natures and “centres on a grid of rounded square icons against a black background.”
· Two other hardware patents were covered, the ‘677 patent and the ‘087patent, which covers the appearance of a device.
On 24th August, 2012 the jury in the Apple- Samsung trial ruled mostly in favour of Apple, and awarded Apple $1,051,855,000 in damages. Samsung, on the other hand, was granted a total of $0 in damages. The jury found no infringement by Apple on any of Samsung’s utility patents.
· The jury found that Samsung infringed on patents for ’381 “bounce back” scrolling functionality on all devices.
· On the ’915 patent, relating to one finger to scroll, two to pinch and zoom navigation, all but three Samsung devices (Ace, Intercept and Replenish) infringed.
· For Apple’s ’163 patent (tap to zoom) all Samsung devices except Captivate, Indulge, Intercept, Nexus S 4G, Transform and Vibrant infringed.
On wilful infringement the jury answered:
· Yes for the ’381 “bounce back” patent on all devices.
· Yes for ’915 “one finger scrolling” for all devices except Replenish.
· Yes for ’163 “tap to zoom” for all except Captivate, Continuum, Gem, Indulge, Nexus S 4G.
The largest damages came from the prepaid Galaxy Prevail (over $57 million). The jury originally awarded Apple $1,051,855,000 in damages, but Judge Koh sent the jurors back to deliberate over two discrepancies that resulted in Samsung being awarded $2.20 million in damages. The changed ruling for two devices saves Samsung $2.2 million in damages.
The dense trial involved more than a dozen different patents, over 30 allegedly infringing devices and wide-ranging claims on design ownership; both sides argued their cases and defended themselves concurrently, all while enraging federal judge Lucy Koh.
Statements from PR of two companies that they made after this landmark decision:
First, Apple PR head Katie Cotton:
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 behaviour wilful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.
Then, the Samsung PR team:
“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.”
On 21st September, 2012 Apple filed another lawsuit against Samsung asking to court to award them additional $700 million.
· Apple requested an enhancement of $135 million under the Patent Act.
· $400 million under the Lanham Act.
· Additionally, Apple asked for supplemental damages based on Samsung’s sales in the period from 1st July (as the jury only awarded damages until 30th June).
· Judge Koh’s final judgment, amounting to another $121 million
· $50 million of prejudgment interest to offset the delay until Apple gets paid.
· The total of these additional demands is $707,061,678 if the district court proceedings are concluded on 31st December, 2012.
The total that Apple wants after enhancement from Samsung is $1,756,121,384 ($1.756 billion) and that is for enhancements, supplemental damages and prejudgment interest.
Apple knew that only some parts of the $1.05 billion damages awarded by the jury were subjected to enhancement for wilful patent infringement. Apple requested a tripling for wilful patent infringement of an amount of $67,880,583 for the five smartphones and two tablets that the jury found to infringe only Apple’s utility patents resulting in enhancement of $135,761,166 for a total award on those products to $203,641,749. Additionally, Apple asked for a $400 million under the Lanham Act (i.e., U.S. trademark law) for infringement of trade dress, resulting in “a total increase in the judgment of $535,761,166” for the wilfulness part.
Apple also asks for supplemental damages based on Samsung’s sales between 1st July and the final resolution of the current proceedings in Judge Koh’s court, and for prejudgment interest. The jury awarded damages only for the period until 30th June, 2012.
Apple’s motion also asks for an injunction that would cover “any other product with a feature or features not more than colourably different from any of the infringing feature or features in any of the Infringing Products”. If Apple’s motion for a permanent injunction is granted, Samsung will also have to avoid infringement of the relevant intellectual property rights with any other products, including the Galaxy S III.