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What the Apple Verdict Means for the Smartphone Industry

By Deanne Katz, Esq. | Last updated on

The Apple-Samsung patent case is in after over 50 hours of testimony and several days of jury deliberation. The verdict was announced Friday afternoon and the jury's verdict leaves no doubt that Samsung is the loser.

But the real loser could be the smartphone industry.

At least one member of the Samsung family of smartphones and touchscreens was found to infringe on almost every patent claim Apple made. Samsung's arguments that the patents were invalid fell on deaf ears with this jury.

This case marks the biggest smartphone patent litigation suit to date and the decision will have a significant impact on the growing industry.

Samsung's designs strayed too close to Apple's patented technology for the jury. This precedent could mean trouble for other smartphone designers.

At a minimum, the case could prevent Android makers from designing a product whose appearance is too similar to Apple's iPhone. Design features like the double-tap to zoom, the fact that icons will snap into place, and the shape of the phone itself are all part of the iPhone and iPad aesthetic.

Samsung's designs were found to infringe patents for all of those features, reports Ars Technica.

This case also creates more fodder for critics of the current patent system. The ruling sets a precedent that could make it more difficult for other smartphone developers to avoid infringement.

The issue began when Samsung's Galaxy smartphone was released in 2010.

At the time, Steve Jobs contacted Samsung because he believed the Galaxy infringed on several of Apple's patents. That first contact has since grown into a litigious multinational dispute with trials in South Korea, Australia, Germany, and the United States.

As part of the original patent suit, Apple had a preliminary ban prohibiting South-Korea based Samsung from selling its tablet in the U.S, reports Bloomberg. Apple was also hoping to block Samsung from selling it's smartphones in American markets as well.

It's unclear how the verdict will affect those plans. For now the only punishment Samsung has received is a requirement to pay over 1.5 billion in damages.

The Apple Samsung case is over, at least for now, but it's impact on patents and infringement litigation will be felt for years to come.

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