By Brian X. Chen, The Times of India
The federal court jury’s decision Friday in a smartphone patent lawsuit between Apple and Samsung is expected to alter the dynamics of the highly competitive mobile phone industry.
For Samsung, which lost on almost every count in the closely watched trial in San Jose,
Calif., and was ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages, the
implications are more obvious. It will have to be cautious in how it
designs products to avoid being accused of imitating Apple.
“Companies in the future
are going to have to consider how much they want their product to look
and feel like their competitors’ products in terms of shape, size, the
way it feels, the way it looks, how the icons are similar, or will the
icons be quite dissimilar” said Robert W. Dickerson Jr., a lawyer who is
the head of the West Coast intellectual property practice for Dickstein
Shapiro, a patent law firm not involved in the Samsung-Apple case.
and its main hardware partner Nokia, at the very least, should have an
easier time of it. Robert Barr, executive director of the University of California
Berkeley’s Center for Law and Technology, said that the user interface –
the icons and other features that users see and touch – of the Nokia
Windows phones looks distinctly different from that of the iPhone.
Nokia, a longtime maker of phones, also has a thick portfolio of patents
to protect itself. For Microsoft and Nokia, which are trying to make a
comeback in smartphones, this design distinction is a clear advantage in
the internecine patent wars sweeping the industry as much as it is a
Things could get tougher, however, for
Google, or any phone-maker using its Android software. Android phones
are the most common smartphones on the market today. Samsung is the
world’s largest maker of smartphones, and it has been quickly gaining
market share. Collectively, the various Android phones from Samsung and
other makers easily outsell Apple’s iPhones.
is not involved in this case, Apple was clearly going after Android all
along, said Robert P. Merges, professor of law and technology at
University of California Berkeley School of Law. If other handset makers
using Android fear that Apple will take them on and win, might they shy
away from Android?
“There are a lot more players in the
Android world who could be involved in the future in litigation,” he
said. “And it’s going to raise the cost of everyone in the Android system if the damages stick.”