On 24 August 2012, Apple Inc was awarded more than $1bn in damages against its South-Korean rival Samsung Electronics, in the conclusion of a landmark patent infringement trial. In April 2011, Apple claimed (to name but a few) that Samsung's phones had copied its devices' navigational, tap to zoom functions, and its bounce-back effect when scrolling. Samsung responded by counterclaiming that Apple had infringed Samsung's patents, including one for its 3G networking.
A US Jury took only two and a half days to decipher more than four weeks of litigation, concluding that Samsung had copied and infringed a number of Apple's patents. The Jury upheld all of Apple's seven patents in dispute and found that Samsung had infringed all but one of them. Apple intends now to ban a number of infringing Samsung products by way of an injunction.
Apple is involved in several high profile patent infringement cases with a number of technology companies, including HTC and Motorola. The decision was seen as a big blow to Samsung, who are the largest maker of smart phones and mobile phones worldwide. Samsung responded after the verdict and stated: "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."
Although Apple only recovered around half of the $2.5bn sought in damages, it is seen by many to have won this battle. Samsung has already said it will appeal the decision, however, with Christmas trade looming and the new release of Apple's iPhone 5, this is certainly a decision Samsung could have done without.
Apple's winning streak continued into September, when a judge at the International Trade Commission ruled that Apple had not infringed four of Samsung's patents in the creation of its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch at a preliminary ruling. But for Apple, as one case draws to a close, another seems to open just as quickly. Apple's new operating system iOS6, released on 19 September 2012, already faces legal challenge days after its release, this time from a Swiss federal train operator who claim Apple's use of an analogue clock infringes the copyright in a clock design created for the operator which dates back to 1955.
Nevertheless, experts now hope Apple's victories will provoke companies such as Samsung to invest, create and invent a wider range of products to help create more competition for Apple and give consumers a more varied assortment of tablets and smart phones.