You have to wonder what Apple and its lawyers are now thinking. Last Friday’s patent victory did almost nothing for the company and nothing to deter or stop the momentum of chief rival Samsung.
After a hard fought and widely publicized trial, Apple extracted a jury verdict of just $119 million against the Korean company. It’s a far cry from the roughly $2 billion Apple was seeking. As a financial penalty it’s trivial; as a “moral victory” there may be some satisfaction there — but not much.
Apple won roughly $1 billion in damages — a landmark in patent litigation — from Samsung last January. Samsung has appealed that damages award. Apple will likely appeal the damages award in the latest case.
The fight will obviously continue. But it’s getting a bit futile (and even silly) for Apple. Whether you agree or disagree with the claim that Google/Android and Samsung are “slavishly copying” the iPhone — and two juries have to some degree — a tactical or strategy change is now required in Cupertino.
Clearly the courts and juries are suffering from “patent litigation fatigue.” In addition, lawsuits and efforts at injunctions haven’t stopped the march of Samdroid across the globe. It’s really a replay of Windows vs. Mac in the late ’80s and ’90s.
Samsung’s dominance of the Android marketplace has only increased in the year since the original Apple patent victory over Samsung in US Federal Court. In the interim Android has grown its lead in most countries over iOS. Apple devices generate more web traffic in a number of markets but Android has many more devices in those markets.
It’s time for Apple to focus more on product development and end the patent litigation mania that has spanned the globe and ensnared all the major tech companies over the past several years.
Its lawyers might be happy about such a change. But the rest of us will.