SAN MATEO, Calif. — This time, the Great Patent War had the look and feel of a Samsung win, with a big assist to Google.
Two years ago, Apple was awarded nearly $1 billion in Round One of the legal slugfest. This year? $119.6 million, after a federal court jury Friday found Samsung infringed on some of Apple's smartphone patents.
The jurors also found some Apple iPhones and iPods infringed a Samsung patent, and ordered Apple to pay $158,400 in damages to its South Korean rival.
Samsung can thank a top-notch legal team that wisely invoked Google as its primary defense. It persuasively argued that Apple's true legal beef was with Google and its Android operating system, which runs the nine Samsung smartphones and one Galaxy tablet targeted in Apple's patent lawsuit.
It was a convincing court victory that — coupled with Samsung's clear marketing mastery and, yes, innovative mobile products — has put Apple on its heels.
It's made for fascinating theater in court and in the marketplace, and changed the way consumers think about consumer-electronics products.
Here's hoping that Apple fights back with new products — not another patent case.