August 18, 2012 · 0 Comments
With both sides so heavily invested in the case, neither company is likely to give in at this point, experts say.
Now the case will likely by decided by a jury of Apple and Samsung’s “peers,” but it’s impossible to predict exactly how a jury will decide such a complex case.
Apple is accusing Samsung of infringing design patents for iPhone, iPad, and its operating system – basically patents on how the products look. It’s also accusing Samsung of infringing three patents on the way its products are used.
In these types of complicated patent disputes, juries often just side with whichever party they might “buy a used car from,” one expert told Business Insider.
But several experts said they would predict one winner if they had to.
Apple’s lawyers presented this memo during the trial in which a Samsung executive said the difference between its products and Apple’s was like that between “heaven and earth.”
“It’s a crisis of design,” the memo stated.
Tech blog BGR also reported earlier this month that a 132-slide report internally assembled by Samsung repeatedly said its products should be more like Apple’s.
The internal memos make it pretty tough for Samsung to argue that it “innocently” designed products that “looked so much like Apple’s,” intellectual property, analyst Florian Mueller told Business Insider.
“I think that’s pretty damning evidence,” Mueller said. “They [Samsung] just don’t have a credible excuse that similarities between their product and Apple’s were unintended.”
University of Virginia law professor Chris Sprigman doesn’t think Apple should necessarily win the patent case, in part because it never should have been allowed to patent some of the design features it did.
One of those design patents was for a “rectangular electronic device,” and Sprigman contended Apple shouldn’t have been able to patent a shape. “Why should Apple own the rectangle?”
But, he said, “If I had to predict, I think, at least in the district court, I’d rather have Apple’s case than Samsung’s.”
When companies mimic one another’s designs, they generally improve those designs and make better products, Sprigman said.
He pointed out that Apple itself has become prominent by “tweaking” other people’s designs, noting Steve Jobs himself previously said the company was “shameless” about stealing other’s ideas.
But the jurors might not view Samsung’s alleged imitation that way, he added.
“In our culture, we just kind of have a dim view of people who copy,” Sprigman said.
Apple’s ultimate goal is likely to expose Samsung as a “willful infringer,” or a company that copied another’s work on purpose, according to Mueller, the patent expert.
But even if Apple wins the case, and Samsung is enjoined from using the patents, the South Korean company could simply switch to different designs, Mueller said.
“Apple wants to draw a line in the sand, but [an injunction] is not a strategic nuclear weapon in which you can force somebody out of the market,” he said.