Apple v. Samsung verdict: What it means

It was not a good day for Samsung in a U.S. federal court on Friday.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

After hours and days of deliberations, the nine-person jury finally came to a verdict in Apple v. Samsung at the U.S. District Court of Northern California on Friday afternoon.

And did the jury come back with a victory for Apple, or what? It wasn't a complete landslide, but suffice to say, it was good enough.

The fact that the jury even came back with a verdict after two and a half days of deliberations (with no questions asked in open court) is quite astounding -- especially considering they had a 109 pages of instructions to sift through before even getting to the extremely detailed and complex verdict form.

That must have been a headache for the jury as they basically had to go through dozens of questions for each individual device listed in the case and identify which patents they violated or not. Perhaps the only reason the jury was able to return with a verdict so quickly on such a difficult case was because of the jury's background, which included two engineers and four people who worked for tech companies.

Both Samsung and Apple were out for financial restitution in this case, with Apple seeking up to $2.5 billion in damages.

But beyond just the money (it's not like Apple needs it), Apple was out to prove a point with this case, essentially defending its creative property while skewering the competition at the same time. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company did just that as the jury declared Apple's utility and design patents valid and that Apple wasn't in violation of any of Samsung's patents, sealing the deal for Apple's win in this lawsuit.

(Of course, more than $1 billion in damages just for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 alone makes Apple's big win look good too.)

Meanwhile, Samsung's countersuit, which was tied into this case with Apple's original lawsuit, was basically declared null and void.

It's an understatement to say that this will have repercussions throughout the smartphone and tablet industry -- all of which might not be evident or known yet.

But for starters, Samsung's portfolio and bottom line will be taking some big dents. As ZDNet's Larry Dignan wrote earlier this week, nearly a third of Samsung's value is tied to its smartphone business, while Apple pretty much relies entirely on iPhone and iPad sales now.

While some of the smartphones cited in the case are older and probably not even sold anymore, this will definitely have an effect on how Samsung products are designed and built in the future -- as well as devices made by other mobile OEMs.

Essentially, this major ruling in favor of Apple could instill a lot of fear in other mobile device manufacturers -- especially those designing for the Android ecosystem, which in turn would severely hurt Google.

Even though Android dominates the mobile operating system market, Apple already has the most popular smartphone and tablet on the market. Anyone wishing to compete is going to have to be extremely careful on how they design their products.

Then again, the after effects (with the exception of some stock price drops) might not be seen for awhile (if ever) as it is inevitable that Samsung will appeal.

To put this into another perspective, the battle between Apple and Samsung is actually much bigger than just this particular patent infringement lawsuit. For reference, ZDNet's Charlie Osborne has compiled a concise timeline dating back over a year, highlighting other court battles between these two in Germany and Australia, among elsewhere.

The U.S. case, which has played out in a federal courtroom in San Jose for the last several weeks, has garnered an incredible amount of attention worldwide -- especially thanks to some controversies surrounding confidential documents-turned-evidence, leaks to the press as well as connections to other tech giants such as IBM, Toshiba, and Microsoft.

Friday's verdict follows a stunning decision this morning stemming from a judicial court in Seoul, Korea, which ended up punishing both parties by banning devices from both Apple and Samsung.

Specifically, Apple reportedly has to stop selling the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 as well as the first and second-generation iPads in South Korea. Additionally, at least 12 Samsung mobile devices will be banned, including the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab.

But even though Apple has had some victories (and losses) around the world, none of them really match up to the impact that the U.S. case will have.

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