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Android may face darker days ahead in wake of Apple's win

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Android? Tablets? Smartphone? iPhone? iPad?

Android momentum possibly derailed
"This is a huge victory for Apple...[but] the real question is whether this is enough to derail the momentum the Android ecosystem has gained in the marketplace," said Mark A. Lemley, a professor at the Stanford Law School.

Factors still to be determined include whether Lucy H. Koh, the judge in the San Jose case, will uphold an injunction against importing the Samsung handsets and tablets found to be infringing. Such a decision quickly would translate the jury verdict into a market-share shift, at least in the U.S.

Koh must also decide whether she will add punitive damages to the $1.05 billion in compensatory damages already awarded by the jury. Under the law, she could triple the damages award due to the jury's finding of willfulness.

A billionor even threeis more significant in the eyes of the buying public than it is to the big bankrolls of Apple and Samsung. "A billion dollars is senzational and will certainly capture the attention of the media and the consumer," said Casey Hill, an intellectual property attorney who worked with smartphone makers such as Research in Motion.

Other key factors are private. "One question is how hard it is for Samsung to redesign its phones to avoid the patents, and whether doing so messes up the apps written for the Android OS," said Lemley.

"A second question is whether other Android phone makers feel the need to redesign to avoid these patents," he said.

The winning Apple design patents include two on industrial designthe D '677 on the iPhone's flat, black transparent face with large display and the D '087 on its rectangular shape with rounded corners and a bezel. The third winning design patent is D '305 on its app screen with colorful icons on a grid with a black background.

The winning Apple utility patents include the '381 on the bounce-back feature when the user comes to the end of, for example, a contact list. They also include the '163 on the double-tap-to-zoom command and the '915 on the single-finger scroll/two-finger zoom gestures.

The patents are likely Apple's strongest. It is reasonable to assume the company has others forming a second tier it may now try to establish in other cases around the globe.

"Apple has already asserted several dozen different patents against Android device makers in the US and abroad-most of these claims have not been adjudicated yet," said Mueller.

"They have the right to reassert in California any patents they withdrew to narrow the case for trial, and they have a second lawsuit pending against Samsung in that district, which they filed in February over eight patents," he said.

Hold on to your seats, this ride has just started.

- Rick Merritt
??EE Times

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