The recent California Court decision to award Apple $1 billion in damages for patent infringement has major implications for every player in the smart phone industry. I think a proactive approach to monitoring patent research would have changed the outcome for Samsung and teaches 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 http://www.bgr.com/2012/08/08/apple-samsung-patent-lawsuit-internal-report-copy-iphone/) that was a feature by feature comparison of Samsung’s Galaxy smart phone against Apple’s iPhone. The key takeaway was that Samsung’s phone needed to be more like the iPhone.
On a marketing level, I give credit to Samsung for creating a comprehensive document comparing their product to their chief rival. However, by using existing products they 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 as well as the progressive technologies, patents and designs introduced by Apple as well as 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 losing in court.
Vera de Kok (Wikimedia)