Apple Inc. has won a case in a Federal Court that will force Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to change the way it designs its smart phones. The decision, which came from the Federal Court of Appeals, is part of a multi-year, global fight between Apple and Samsung about what kind of ideas are owned, and which are free. Apple is winning.
Today’s court case involves more than one patent that Samsung previously claimed it had not infringe on. The most famous among them is slide-to-lock, but also covers auto-correct functions and Quicklinks. For Apple, the most important thing is not taking slide-to-lock away from Samsung, it’s the broad support that the court just gave the firm’s ideas.
Apple Inc. gets court protection
The US Court of Appeals ruled that had it denied Apple’s petition to have Samsung’s use of those patents blocked, the patent rights of some features used in multi-component devices would be weakened, or taken away entirely.
In the court’s opinion many of the lines along which Apple is fighting Samsung are areas in which Apple has the protection of the US government. That’s good news for Tim Cook, and for every other holder of Apple shares.
Nick Rodelli, who heads CFRA Legal Edge told Bloomberg “It’s an important precedent for Apple and any company that seeks to protect product differentiation. This broadens their moat here in the U.S. and makes it more difficult for new entrants to come into the U.S. market and rip off Apple’s features.”
Back in May 2014 Apple won more than $114M in a settlement from Samsung in a battle over the same features. Since then the case has migrated to the Appeals Court, and may pop up again before going away for good. In that case the judge didn’t compel Samsung to remove the features. Today’s case is a much stronger tool for Apple to use in future battles against smart phone makers.
Apple iPhone 6S sales lag
Technology is fast while courts move slowly. The patents that Apple was fighting with Samsung over in this case are no longer at anything like the center of the smart phone world. The world has changed quite a bit since slide-to-unlock was important.
Apple has roundly beaten Samsung in anything like a smart phone war. Apple’s only problem now is a like of smart phone buyers. With the release of the iPhone 6S it is argued that Tim Cook’s firm may not see any sales growth at all.
First weekend pre-order numbers came in at around 10 million, very close to the number revealed on the first weekend for the iPhone 6. The only problem was that this time around China, the second biggest market that Apple has, was included in the numbers. That means the firm’s demand profile for the twelve months ahead looks a lot weaker than it did just a few months ago.
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich reckons that Apple is involved in a marathon rather than a sprint. The advent of the Apple iPhone installment program will make it much more lucrative for the firm to sell its smart phones to the world, and will likely increase demand by getting more and more people to upgrade their device every year.
Milunovich reckons that Apple shares are worth $200 a piece as a result of iPhone sales over a longer term. On Thursday’s market shares in the firm sold for $113.92, down 2.14 percent, at close. That had more to do with the confusing Fed statement than anything else.