Apple v Samsung
Apple wins $1 billion+ in patent infringement case against SamsungEven before the trial began it was clear that Samung had been inspired by Apple's concepts. The question was whether or not Samsung had crossed the legal line that distinguishes inspiration from theft. Last Friday a jury decided that Samsung had crossed that line on six patents and awarded Apple $1.05 billion as compensation for actual losses. The jury further determined that Samsung knew it was violating the patents and proceeded to make and sell knockoff products anyway - this means the judge could punish Samsung for its willful patent violations by trebling the damges to over $3 billion. Naturally Samsung is appealing. There is the possibility that this case could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Apple regularly and freely takes ideas from others without acknowledgment or compensation. However, the company is careful in how it proceeds and generally improves upon the ideas of others instead of copying them directly. This is, in fact, the way the patent system is supposed to work. Inspiration should inspire inspiration. Each patent is a building block that furthers innovation in the field.
All in all, without reviewing the patents themselves, it sounds like the verdict is fair. Samsung could have stepped a little wider around Apple's intellectual property. Rather than copying Apple's products so closely Samsung could have copied a page from Apple's playbook. Instead of copying Apple's designs they should have improved upon them. Easy to say, but that's what they should have done.
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