If you’re Samsung, it’s hard to find a silver lining in the verdict a jury handed down on Friday, awarding Apple more than $1 billion for patent infringement related to iPhone and iPad technology. In fact, the jury found that Samsung is guilty of willful infringement, enabling the judge to award triple damages, though legal experts believe this is unlikely. But for the market and mobile device users, there may be an up side.
It is very likely that Samsung and other manufacturers will change the designs of new devices and the functionality of existing products to avoid exposure to similar litigation. While this could have some negative impact, there is speculation that it may ultimately benefit the market by adding diversity of options. The popular iPhone/iPad functionality certainly has great appeal, but designers may come up with something totally different that customers like as well or better.
The billion-dollar win is one of the biggest patent infringement awards ever handed down, but it will not be much of a financial hardship for Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer. Samsung is actually a major supplier of components for Apple devices. It can absorb this expense with ease, though Samsung plans to appeal the verdict. Avoidance of future lawsuits across the industry will be the much more far-reaching legacy, though in the long run, this verdict could actually strengthen the market.
About Grudi Associates’ Advanced Data Devices.