Apple lawsuit 'not about money'

By Juha Saarinen on Aug 27, 2012 8:09 AM
Filed under Mobility

CEO emails staff after $1bn victory.

The chief executive officer of Apple, Tim Cook, emailed staffers in the wake of its legal victory against Samsung to say values such as originality and innovation had won.

A jury in San Jose, California, on Friday awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages, after funding that Samsung had copied important features of the Apple iPad and iPhone.

As a result of the verdict, Samsung may have to withdraw or delay dozens products from the US market as Apple seeks injunctions against their sale.

In an internal memo, published by 9to5mac, Apple CEO Cook said the company had chosen legal action "very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work".

The full text of the email to Apple staff from Tim Cook:

Today was an important day for Apple and for innovators everywhere.

Many of you have been closely following the trial against Samsung in San Jose for the past few weeks. We chose legal action very reluctantly and only after repeatedly asking Samsung to stop copying our work. For us this lawsuit has always been about something much more important than patents or money. It’s about values.

We value originality and innovation and pour our lives into making the best products on earth. And we do this to delight our customers, not for competitors to flagrantly copy.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the jury who invested their time in listening to our story. We were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to tell it. The mountain of evidence presented during the trial showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than we knew.

The jury has now spoken. We applaud them for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.

I am very proud of the work that each of you do.

Today, values have won and I hope the whole world listens.

Tim

Fixing patent infingements

Legal experts quoted by LA Times indicated that although addressing hardware design similarities between its products and Apple's would be "thorny" for Samsung, the Korean company could offer fixes via software upgrades to address the copying allegations.

Douglas Lichtman, professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, said "icons sitting in perfect rounded squares will be replaced by icons sitting in smooth circles, or icons sitting directly on a uniform black background; no big deal".

But one analyst at BGC Financial said the billion dollar verdict could discourage new entrants to the market, out fear of being targets of legal action by cash-rich Apple.

Technology analyst Collin Gillis at BGC Financial pointed to Amazon's scheduled announcement on September 6. "If it's a phone, they're going to be sued probably on Sept 7; no joke," he said.

The foreman of the jury, Velvin Hogan, told Silicon Valley newspaper Mercury News that it wanted the industry at large to know that patent infringing was the wrong thing to do.

Hogan said he was an Apple sceptic and considered the company's products overpriced.

He also discounted the parade of highly paid experts on both sides, saying: "you can pay people to say what you want them to say".

Legal blog Groklaw and Above the Law criticised the speed of the verdict, with some legal experts noting that it would take longer than three days to understand all the terms involved.

But juror Manuel Ilagan told CNET that the deliberation process wasn't rushed, and the evidence was compelling in favour of Apple.

"The emails that went back and forth from Samsung execs about the Apple features they should incorporate into their devices was pretty damning to me," Ilagan said.

According to Ilagan, there was no hometown bias within the jury even though many of its members live and work in Silicon Valley, where Apple was based.

 
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