Apple v. Samsung Supreme Court Ruling: What Does it Mean?

Dec 07, 2016

The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Samsung in its long court battle against Apple regarding patent infringement - kind of.

The Supreme Court ruled that the patent infringement damages can only be awarded for the part(s) of the device that actually infringed on the patent(s) - not the entire device.  What this means for Samsung is that the original amount the company was set to pay to Apple will likely decrease dramatically.  However, Samsung will still be involved in ongoing litigation to determine the extent of the financial damages.  What this means for the entire mobile device industry is something entirely different.  

New companies looking to enter the North American market now have significantly less financial risk associated with lawsuits from companies like Apple.  As a result, the US may see more competition in the market from players like Xiaomi - a China based powerhouse who has created an iOS-like feel on an Android device.  Xiaomi has been hesitant to expand into the US market in fear of lawsuit battles over their devices.  The current Supreme Court ruling has helped to reassure that while IP lawsuits are going to continue, the cost of these lawsuits will likely pose far too low of a risk to prolong the reward of entering one of the worlds top mobile device markets.

While there is still more information and lower court battles to play out between the two largest mobile device companies in the world before we get a better picture, the obvious takeaway is that this decision will hurt Apple in a market where they have been a market leader.  The threat to Apple isn't only the powerhouse of Samsung who already has been a strong competitor, but  more so the smaller and more disruptive competitors like Xiaomi who may view the Supreme Court ruling as a green light to aggressively enter the market with its products.  If history has taught us anything, disruptors and aggressive competition create a great market for the consumers.

Category : Mobile & Wireless

Todd Day


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