By The Associated Press
NEW YORK – 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? Will 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. That included the “bounce-back” behavior when a user scrolls to the end of a page and the ability to zoom in on an image by spreading two fingers.
The jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. That was less than the $2.5 billion sought, but still a victory for Apple. 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:
Q. Can I still buy a Samsung phone or tablet computer today?
A. Yes. The jury didn’t prohibit sales of the devices. However, Apple will ask a judge to ban U.S. sales of several Samsung devices.
Q. Was Friday’s verdict final?
A. No. Samsung is challenging it. First, Samsung will first 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.
Q. If Apple still prevails, will this drive Samsung out of the phone business?
A. That’s not likely. The verdict doesn’t apply outside the U.S. and doesn’t apply to the latest Samsung devices either. The $1 billion in damages represents 1.5 percent of Samsung Electronics Co.’s annual revenue.
Q. Will this make Samsung phones more expensive?
A. 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.
Q. What does this mean for the Samsung phone I already own?
A. This doesn’t directly affect phones that have already been sold, even if they are the models that the judge decides to ban. In the long run, it could reduce enthusiasm around Android, the operating system from Google that Samsung uses in the devices in question.
Q. What does this mean for other Android phones, such as those from LG Electronics Inc., HTC Corp. and Google’s Motorola Mobility?
A. 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 the ruling Friday is not precedential, meaning that other courts could reach completely different decisions.