Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Business

Facts about the $1 billion Apple-Samsung verdict

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Apple's $1 billion court victory over Samsung poses a lot of questions for consumers. Will Samsung phones still be available for sale? Will they be more expensive? Do owners of existing phones need to worry?

A federal jury in San Jose, Calif., ruled late Friday that Samsung, the world's largest maker of phones, had copied features of the iPhone and the iPad. Meanwhile, the jury rejected Samsung's patent-infringement claims against Apple. An appeal is expected.

For now, here's what the verdict means for consumers:

Can I still buy a Samsung phone or tablet computer today?

Yes. The jury didn't prohibit sales of the devices. However, Apple asked that U.S. sales of several Samsung devices be banned. A Sept. 20 hearing has been scheduled. If the judge agrees, that would affect many Samsung devices, but not the most recent ones, such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note smartphones.

Was Friday's verdict final?

No. Samsung is challenging it. First, Samsung will ask the trial judge to toss the verdict. Then it will appeal to a court in Washington that specializes in patent appeals. Samsung has vowed to take the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.

If Apple still prevails, will this drive Samsung out of the phone business?

That's not likely. The verdict doesn't apply outside the United States and doesn't apply to the latest Samsung devices either. The $1 billion in damages represents 1.5 percent of Samsung Electronics' annual revenue.

Will this make Samsung phones more expensive?

Possibly. Samsung may have to pay Apple substantial royalties on each phone. Consumers will likely pay for that somehow, but it may not be noticeable in stores.

What does this mean for the Samsung phone I already own?

This doesn't directly affect phones that have already been sold, even if they are models the judge decides to ban.

Does this mean Samsung phones will look different in the future?

Possibly. The jury dinged Samsung's flagship Galaxy line for copying the overall look and feel of the iPhone and for using the stock icons with rounded corners that come with Android.

What does this mean for other Android phones, such as those from LG Electronics, HTC and Google's Motorola Mobility?

Although the ruling applies only to Samsung, it will have an indirect effect on all makers of Android devices.

Apple could go after them with arguments similar to the ones used against Samsung. But Friday's ruling is not precedential, meaning that other courts could reach completely different decisions.

Most likely, makers of Android phones will take more care to make their phones distinguishable from the iPhone.

What does this mean for Apple?

Analysts say it could help Apple gain market share at the expense of Android phones, if these have to avoid some attractive and easy-to-use features introduced by Apple.

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