We've been watching Apple and Samsung hammer each other for what feels like eons over who ripped off whom. And now the jury is in (shockingly soon): Samsung just lost almost everything.
The case, which has centered over a panoply of patents relating to both hardware and software design, should settle one major argument once and for all: did Samsung rip off Apple's design when it started churning out touch devices of its own? Does Apple own the right to tech features that've become completely ubiquitous, like icon grids and black rectangles? The repercussions here are mammoth—this decision could literally and profoundly change the way our gadgets look for years and years to come.
Apple has contended that the entire mobile industry had nothing but messes of buttons and switches before Steve Jobs descended with the iPhone—after which point a unadorned glass face with rounded, bouncy icons became the de facto standard for pretty much every phone and tablet, for the rest of time. Samsung says they came up with this stuff on its own before the iPhone ever dropped. Apple, of course, claims the opposite.
Keep in mind that probably everything below will be appealed, so this is by no means over. As much as we wish it were.
Update: According to The Verge, reporting from the courtroom, an enormous swath of Samsung's devices have been found to illegally rip off Apple's software interface ideas (namely bounce-back scrolling and gestures):
Continuum, Droid Charge, Exhibit 4G, Galasy Ace, Prevail, S 4G, S II, Galaxy Tab, The Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Mesmerie, Nexus S 4G, Replenish and Vibrant
Captivate, continuum, droid charge, fascinate, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S II, i9100, Galaxy s 2 Tmobile, Tab, Tab 10.1, Gem, Indulge, Infuse, Nexus S 4G
The list goes on. Virtually every Samsung device in question has been found to infringe on Apple patents. Very, very few exceptions. This is a landslide for Apple so far.
Update 2: Another giant blow to Samsung—the following devices have been found to infringe upon Apple's "front trade dress"—meaning the way it looks:
Fascinate, Galaxy S, S 4G, S 2 ATT, S2 i9100, S2 Tmobile, S 2 Epic 4G touch, Skyrocket, Showcase, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, and Vibrant.
Update 3: The Galaxy Tab gets off clean for design! Major points for Samsung.
Update 4: Samsung willingly infringed upon multiple Apple patents, the jury says. That's very bad. Intentional intellectual property theft. Big loss for Sammy.
Update 5: Another trouncing for Samsung: the company didn't prove that a single one of Apple's contested patents is invalid. This will have big consequences when it comes time to hand out punishment.
Update 6: Samsung hit with over $1 BILLION in damages, paid to Apple. Hoo boy! That's enough to buy an Instagram, with cash left over. $1,051,855,000, to be exact.
Update 7: Jury says Apple violated zero Samsung patents, and owes Apple nothing so far. Welp. Remember that part in Starship Troopers, when all of the bugs kill all the humans? This is like that, and Samsung is the humans. The question now: where will Apple's legal team be dining tonight? A giant lake filled with molten gold?
Update 8: Samsung's statement, according to CNET:
"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."
Update 9: Samsung scored a 0.24% discount on the bill they owe Apple because of a jury screw up. The bill is now... wait for it, wait for it: $1,049,343,540.