Tech giants Apple and Samsung have been in a patent infringement battle which recently ended in shocking form. With Samsung being forced to pay damages to Apple for infringing on design patents the iPhone maker holds dear, one would have thought this could be set in stone upon final ruling.
|Photo via mediatapper.com|
Not so fast...
With major help our tech-savvy friend GuyverV, we have a few quick reasons this case is probably just starting to heat up.
1. The Jury has said way too much.
Jurors have admitted they ignored the judge's instructions and also issued the wrong type of damages to Samsung. They were also blatant about disregarding 2 major prongs of patent law: obviousness and prior art. More on those later...
2. The jury didn't believe that reading is fundamental (regarding instructions).
Again referring to #1, they ignored the judge's instructions, provided to give them guidelines on how to determine the outcome. Sure, the instructions were over 100 pages, but a case like this is paramount in such a specialty of law--not to mention, the duty of a juror is no task to be taken lightly. The jury foreman was reported as saying they "wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist". However, the judge instructed them to apply actual damages (compensation), not punitive damages (punishment).
3. 9 Northern Californians can't really be considered a "jury of Samsung's peers".
One has to wonder about the background of the jurors, particularly considering their need for speed in getting the verdict done. We all love our weekends, but the role of a juror is serious. Maybe having more jurors with technology backgrounds or even art backgrounds might have done the case more justice.
The pinch-to-zoom and double tap-to-zoom were 2 of the main patent issues Samsung took a hard loss on in this case. Each of these ideas should have been cleared of infringement claims because of the prior art and obviousness elements so fundamental to patent law. Prior art refers to a design or function's reliance on a prior design as its foundation. It leans heavily on obviousness, which can preclude infringement because of a newer design's clear evolution from a previous work. Pinch-to-zoom and double tap-to-zoom are pretty obvious progressions when examining the technological advancement of touch screens.
5. The patent law industry won't let this case stand as precedent.
Because of the outcome resulting from this case, an appeal is needed without question. Ignoring the elements of prior art and obviousness cannot be held up for further cases to rely on.
We'll continue watching this one, for sure. Thanks as always to GuyverV for the great technology insights.
For more details on the Apple v. Samsung litigation, check out these articles: