Apple vs Samsung: A Rushed Job? A Fair Trial?

The verdict in the Apple vs Samsung case came faster than expected. The jury seemed to be in a hurry (after having worked over time) and reached a verdict giving Apple a victory on a platter. Perhaps the jury did not want to spoil their weekend and handed their verdict which many have noted has several inconsistencies.

Was Jury In Too Much Hurry For Such A High Profile Case?

Above The Law commented on this hurried job, “Here’s the thing, ladies and gentlemen of the Apple v. Samsung jury: It would take me more than three days to understand all the terms in the verdict! Much less come to a legally binding decision on all of these separate issues. Did you guys just flip a coin?”

There was a lot of goof up there. Did you know that the jurors reached a decision without needing the instructions? Amazing!

There were a lot of inconsistence due to the rush the jury supposedly was in. The jury has awarded Apple damages for Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE and the award was $219,694. You may think what’s wrong there? What’s wrong is Galaxy Tab 10.1 LTE was not found to infringe upon anything!

As PJ of Groklaw writes:

O M G The jury wasn’t even paying close attention. “Let’s give Apple millions,” seems to be the attitude. Talk about an appeal issue. So the jurors went back and tried again, these slipshod folks who don’t even need jury instructions. And the new funny money awarded to Apple by this jury of its peers is $1,049,343,540.

Was It A Fair Trial?

There were concern by experts that Samsung did not get a fair trial from the very beginning. Even Samsung’s esteemed lawyer ended up saying, ‘Then why are we having this trial?”

Groklaw has repeatedly published articles about how the judge sanctions Samsung for the same reason Apple should have been sanctioned too. For example Samsung was sanctioned for not preserving emails from a particular time.  As Groklaw writes, “Apple itself had not started saving *any* emails at that date. It didn’t start until almost a year later.”

PJ writes:

Keep in mind that there is no specific math for when you are supposed to figure out that litigation is likely. That is the trigger, when a reasonable party would figure that out. But if Samsung was supposed to know that date was the date, and if Apple itself was pointing to that date as the right one, what about Apple? Why didn’t it start saving emails back then too?

The magistrate that ordered the sanction said that Apple requested it and Samsung could have request it too. But when Samsung did file the similar request of sanction against Apple the very next day. They were denied it stating that it was filed too late.

PJ writes on Groklaw:

I think you can see with your own eyes that the sanction against Samsung was not fair, now that it has all played out. And you can see that Samsung was wise to appeal it all to the presiding judge. But what about Apple? Did it pay off, trying to find fault with Samsung on this issue? I think not. Not in the courtroom. But what about in the media? Did you see a lot of articles about Samsung being too late, complaining out of dramatics instead of substance, etc.? I did too. Of course, as I showed you earlier, FOSSPatents was spinning it that way.

Damages And Injunction

Apple immediately filed for an injunction on Samsung devices. The company did not want to give Samsung enough time to respond to the filing. Apple will file it by August 29 and then Samsung will get 14 days to respond to it (Sept 12) and then Apple will again get 2 days to respond to Samsungs response.

There is no doubt that there will be an appeal in this case. As SJVN writes, “This is not the end. This verdict doesn’t even matter in the long run. This was just another clash.”

Samsung has not given and it’s too big to give up so easily. As the Verge reports, Samsung said in a statement:

Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer. It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices. It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products. This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple’s claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.

This case once again shows that US patent system is the real culprit here which is being abused by companies like Apple. So, Apple is going around blocking those companies who invested billions on developing ‘core’ technologies on the basis of rounded corners and looks of their apps.

What a great system to encourage innovation. When will the US lawmakers wake up to abolish this flawed patent system?

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About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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