A California court with a California judge and a California jury decided this week that California device vendor Apple should win most of its patent lawsuit against South Korean company Samsung. It was adjudged that Samsung infringed on 4 software patents and 2 hardware patents for up to 27 smartphone and tablet models in the US market between 2010 and 2012.
Assuming an appeal or retrial are unsuccessful, which companies won or lost from the verdict?
WINNERS: Apple, Nokia, Microsoft, Tizen, LG Display, Sharp LCD, Nuance, Cirrus, Largan, and Foxconn are among ten winners identified by our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) and Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services. Nokia and Microsoft may eventually come to be viewed by carriers as more patent-friendly than Android. Component suppliers for Apple, like LG Display, could see a slight uptick in business. Apple will be seen by some consumers and operators as a patent bully, but its successful court case strengthens the iOS ecosystem by legal means and jabs rivals like Android and Samsung with a sharp stick. Apple must keep its fingers crossed that the stricter patent environment does not encourage disruptive innovation from competitors like Google in the longer-term. Difficult situations can inspire ingenious products.
LOSERS: Samsung, Android, HTC, Sony, LG, ZTE, Huawei, Pantech, Amazon and Universal Display are among ten losers identified. The cost of using Android is rising for Samsung and potentially other device vendors like Amazon. If Samsung is forced by the courts to stop selling some legacy models in the US in the near-term, a small amount of temporary volumes could be shed. The glowing halos surrounding the Android and Samsung brands have lost a little shine during the heavily publicized trial in recent weeks. And Google is going to have to work hard to ensure the Android ecosystem of hardware partners feels united and "safe" from further Apple patent attacks during 2013.
NEUTRAL: What about RIM and Motorola? They are neutral. RIM does not have a good enough touchphone portfolio to counter-attack Samsung while it is temporarily on the back foot. And Motorola is already holding its own in various IP battles being waged with Apple in US courts.
Of course, the surefire winners are lawyers and law firms. Patent wars have become the new normal in the global mobile industry. Almost everyone is suing everyone. For example, Nokia won a roughly half-billion-dollar patent lawsuit against Apple just last year. Apple squeezed at least a billion dollars from Samsung this year. There will surely be more juicy lawsuits to come from one or more major firms next year.