Last Saturday, perfectly coinciding with Tim Cook's first anniversary as Apple CEO, the jury handling Apple vs. Samsung patent infringement case in the United States officially dropped its verdict greatly favoring the Cupertino company.
Found guilty of infringing a number of design and software patents owned by Apple, Samsung was ordered to pay the American company $1.049 Billion in damages. According to court documents, some infringing products by the Korean giant include Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy Ace, and Samsung Galaxy Tab, among others.
Following Apple's landmark victory in court, Tim Cook released an internal memo addressed to all Apple employees where he shared his thoughts about how the case panned out;
Tim Cook with former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs (Credit: SocialBarrel)
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.
Meanwhile, Samsung likewise released an official statement on the court's verdict. And we quote,
Today’s verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer.
It will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices.
It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies. Consumers have the right to choices, and they know what they are buying when they purchase Samsung products.
This is not the final word in this case or in battles being waged in courts and tribunals around the world, some of which have already rejected many of Apple's claims. Samsung will continue to innovate and offer choices for the consumer.
Being the leader in the market, offering more choices to consumers, improving technology: Samsung is not the only player in the mobile industry that's trying to achieve these. Obviously, these are also the same goals of companies like Nokia, BlackBerry, and Sony, among others.
All other companies in this scene are doing their best to be in a better standing in the smartphone race. Nokia, for example, dropped an all too familiar OS in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone in hopes of regaining a solid following in the US. BlackBerry, on the other hand, is betting all cards on its very-own BlackBerry 10 operating system. Though transitions can be tough and sacrifices have to be made in the process, these giants can take pride in the fact that what they are and will be offering to consumers are unique and are a product of their own desire to be different and to stand-out. After all, that's what their Design and R&D teams are for.
There's nothing wrong with having lofty ambitions for oneself, one's company or its consumers. What's wrong is when you try to achieve your ambitions in an unfair manner -- like blatantly copying the technology of the competition that you want to bring down, among other foul moves.
At the risk of being deemed self-righteous, I'll tell it straight: "A goal no matter how grand or noble is no excuse to do something wrong."