Jury tells Apple to get a life

Executives at the fruity cargo cult Apple were given a swift kick in their reality distortion field by the jury in the Samsung patent case at the end of last week.

Apple had believed that it could go before a jury in its hometown and demand $2 billion from Samsung because it honestly believed that it invented everything in the Samsung phone. Samsung admitted it had violated a few patents, but that was because Apple would not sell them at a reasonable price, and besides the IPhone had a few of its patents which Jobs’ Mob had not paid for.

The jury seemed to see common sense in the case and ordered Samsung to pay $119.6 million for infringing some of its patents, while Apple owes Samsung $158,400 for infringing one of the Korean company’s patents.

The jury found all of Samsung’s accused gadgets infringed Apple’s ‘647 “quick links” patent but that none infringed the ‘959 “universal search” patent or the ‘414 “background sync” patent. Results were mixed for the ‘721 “slide to unlock” patent, with some Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy Nexus, found to infringe, and others found not to.

Judge Lucy Koh, in a pretrial judgement, had already ruled that Samsung infringed the ‘172 “automatic word correction” patent, and the jury simply calculated damages. The jury awarded Apple only $119.6 million for Samsung’s infringement, much less than the $2.2 billion it had wanted.

Meanwhile, the jury also decided that Apple infringed Samsung’s ‘449 patent for photo and video organisation in folders and awarded the Korean company $158,400. Samsung had accused Apple of infringing two patents and asked for damages of about $6.2 million.

The jury will return today to reconsider one of the damages figures. It awarded Apple no damages for one version of the Galaxy S2, but Apple believes it should be awarded some money for Samsung’s infringement of the ‘172 patent.

Apple was doing its best to put some spin on the verdict, claiming that the ruling reinforces that Samsung wilfully stole our ideas and copied our products.

“We are fighting to defend the hard work that goes into beloved products like the iPhone, which our employees devote their lives to designing and delivering for our customers.”

However, quite clearly the jury also thought that Apple was being unreasonable in the way it handled the whole thing.

The damages amount owed to Apple fall far below the company’s request, and Samsung was not found to infringe all of Apple’s patents. In addition, Apple was found to infringe one of Samsung’s patents, something that did not occur in the previous trial.

Observers say that Apple’s claims that Samsung blatantly copied the iPhone never rang true, particularly as most of the claims were about Android software which is made by Google. Apple has worked on the premise that suing Google would not work since Google doesn’t make its own phones or tablets so it went after the companies that sell physical devices using Android.

The jury was made up of tech novices including a cop and a retired teacher. Only one member, a former IBM software executive, had experience in technology, while another works in renewable energy.

There were seven patents at issue in the latest case — five held by Apple and two by Samsung. Apple accused Samsung of infringing US patents Nos. 5,946,647; 6,847,959; 7,761,414; 8,046,721; and 8,074,172. All relate to software features, such as quick links for ‘647, universal search for ‘959, background syncing for ‘414, slide-to-unlock for ‘721, and automatic word correction for ‘172. Overall, Apple argued that the patents enable ease of use and make a user interface more engaging.

Samsung accused Apple of infringing US patents Nos. 6,226,449 and 5,579,239. The ‘449 patent, which Samsung purchased from Hitachi, involves camera and folder organization functionality. The ‘239 patent, which Samsung also acquired, covers video transmission functionality and could have implications for Apple’s use of FaceTime.