World Bulletin / News Desk
A U.S. jury on Friday handed Apple Inc. a sweeping victory in its legal war with Samsung, ruling that the Korean company had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarding the U.S. company $1.051 billion in damages.
The verdict could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products and will likely solidify Apple's dominance of the exploding mobile computing market.
A number of companies that sell smartphones based on Google's Android operating system may now face further legal challenges from Apple, a company that is already among the largest and most profitable in business history.
The jury deliberated for less than three days before delivering the verdict on seven Apple patent claims and five Samsung patent claims -- suggesting that the nine-person panel had little difficulty in concluding that Samsung had copied the iPhone and the iPad.
Billions of dollars in future sales hang in the balance.
Apple's charges that Samsung copied its designs and features are widely viewed as an attack on Google Inc and its Android software, which drives Samsung's devices and has become the most-used mobile software.
Apple and Samsung, two companies that sell more than half the world's smartphones and tablets, have locked legal horns in several countries this year.
Earlier on Friday, a South Korean court found that both companies shared blame, ordering Samsung to stop selling 10 products including its Galaxy S II phone and banning Apple from selling four different products, including its iPhone 4.
But the trial on Apple's home turf -- the world's largest and most influential technology market -- is considered the most important.
The fight began last year when Apple sued Samsung in multiple countries, accusing the South Korean company of slavishly copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued. Apple had sought more than $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung, which has disputed that figure.
The companies are rivals, but also have a $5 billion-plus supply relationship. Apple is Samsung's biggest customer for microprocessors and other parts central to Apple's devices.
The U.S. jury spent most of August in a packed federal courtroom in San Jose -- just miles from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino -- listening to testimony, examining evidence and watching lawyers from both sides joust about seven Apple patents, five Samsung patents, and damage claims.
Jurors received 100 pages of legal instructions from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Aug. 21 prior to hearing the closing arguments from attorneys.
Lawyers from both tech giants used their 25 hours each of trial time to present internal emails, draw testimony from designers and experts, and put on product demonstrations and mockups to convince the jury.
At times, their questions drew testimony that offered glimpses behind the corporate facade, such as the margins on the iPhone and Samsung's sales figures in the United States.
From the beginning, Apple's tactic was to present what it thought was chronological evidence of Samsung copying its phone.
Juxtaposing pictures of phones from both companies and internal Samsung emails that specifically analyzed the features of the iPhone, Apple's attorneys accused Samsung of taking shortcuts after realizing it could not keep up.
Samsung's attorneys, on the other hand, maintained Apple had no sole right to geometric designs such as rectangles with rounded corners. They called Apple's damage claim "ridiculous" and urged the jury to consider that a verdict in favor of Apple could stifle competition and reduce choices for consumers.
The California trial has produced its share of drama and heated moments. Lawyers routinely bickered over legal matters in the jury's absence, filed rafts of paperwork to thwart each other's courtroom strategy, and sometimes even resorted to public relations tactics to make their views known.
Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody's ratings.
A World Trade Organisation pact to ease worldwide customs rules collapsed late on Thursday over India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling.
India's new nationalist government has insisted that a permanent agreement on its subsidised food stockpiling must be in place at the same time as the trade facilitation deal
Chemicals firm LyondellBasell has emerged as the mystery American buyer of Kurdish crude oil this year, but said it will not be buying any more
Some EU member states remain nervous about the impact on their own fragile economies. The sanctions deal was agreed only after initial proposals were narrowed.
Bankers in Singapore say Russians looking for a new Cyprus have come to the wrong place.
The default could get much messier and take longer to clear up if creditors force an "acceleration" for early payment on their bonds.
The ban came a day after the European Union and United States imposed their first sanctions aimed at hitting broad sectors of the Russian economy
Russia called new U.S. sanctions "destructive and short-sighted"
While the default will obviously hurt the economy, it will not be as severe as in 2001, economists say
The Czechs, who supported the action, have been against sweeping sanctions, worried about trade relations with Russia
The trade program has been criticized for disproportionately benefiting certain industries and a handful of countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived off the coast of Texas on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo.
The uncertainty comes at a bad time for the 18 countries in the euro zone, whose economy is already in the doldrums.
"Kalashnikov regrets that consumers are faced with such a problem," said spokeswoman Yekaterina Boni.
Cairo and Khartoum had earlier accepted a proposal by Addis Ababa to hold the talks in Sudan in the third week of August.