In a small courtroom in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, patent lawyers were arguing over 600 highly technical principles of mobile-phone design.
Should the ability to zoom in on a touch-screen phone with the tap of a finger be something protected by patents? Is the “bounce-back” feature – when a user scrolls to an end image – unique to one brand? And should the design of rectangles with round edges belong to one company alone?
The arguments may seem obtuse – something only for America’s elite cabal of vastly wealthy corporate lawyers. Yet the battle between technological giants Apple and Samsung is something that has serious implications for mobile-phone users around the world – affecting everything from the price we pay for our phones, to what they are capable of doing, and whether we have freedom to choose between rival brands.
On Friday, a jury in California decided that, following a four-week trial, Apple should be awarded compensation for rivals Samsung copying their designs. Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Samsung should pay Apple $1 billion after the jury found Samsung infringed six of seven patents for its mobile devices. The verdict may lead to a ban on US sales of hand-held electronics that are deemed to violate Apple’s rights – although Samsung has said it will appeal against the ruling.
“This decision should not be allowed to stand because it would discourage innovation and limit the rights of consumers to make choices for themselves.add your comment