The recent California Court decision to award Apple $1 billion in damages for patent infringement has significant implications for every smartphone industry player. I think a proactive approach to monitoring patent research would have changed the outcome for Samsung and taught an important lesson.
A presentation by William N. Hulsey III, Esquire (www.HULSEYIPLaw.com) shows specific patent claims in the case and the reasons behind the jury’s decision.
Mr. Hulsey pointed out that the most incriminating evidence was a “highly confidential” Samsung document, a feature-by-feature comparison of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone against Apple’s iPhone. The key takeaway was that Samsung’s phone needed to be more like the iPhone.
On a marketing level, I credit Samsung for creating a comprehensive document comparing their product to their chief rival. However, using existing products demonstrated that they were years behind Apple’s significant lead.
They should have been more proactive by keeping track of Apple’s new features from prior products and the progressive technologies, patents, and designs introduced by Apple and other companies in this area.
Had Samsung kept track of Apple’s patent applications and granted patents as they were published, Samsung would have had a much earlier insight into those technologies, Apple’s future direction(s) as well as what technologies they should avoid replicating due to patent protections.
On a tactical level, my recommendation to Samsung would have been to include covered patents for each feature in the document. This would have helped raise red flags to competitive obstacles.
Given a choice between imitation and innovation, Samsung chose to imitate the inventive market leader, Apple. Their poor execution of this strategy doomed them to lose in court.
Vera de Kok (Wikimedia)